We can’t help living in the moment. It’s all we have. But we have to be careful of not confusing the video of life with a snapshot of here and now. The way someone is today may not be the way they are tomorrow.
Everyone goes through stages. Infancy, childhood, adolescence, adulthood, midlife, mature adulthood, senior citizen. As we go through each stage things change; physically, mentally, emotionally. We may move from liberal to conservative to moderate and back to _______. We are brought to church as children, leave as college students, and return as parents of young children. We used to love candy and avoid vegetables (well, okay, maybe not everything changes).
In dealing with the person in front of us today it helps to be mindful of the person who won’t be in front of us tomorrow. Today they don’t get it, aren’t listening, don’t even appear to be paying attention. You keep talking anyway.
In November 1940, Sister Penelope, CSVM (Ruth Penelope Lawson, Convent of the Community of St. Mary the Virgin), shared with C. S. Lewis that as a teacher in theology she had an opportunity to speak to a group of girls in something called the Auxiliary Territorial Service. She confided in Mr. Lewis that she would be “terribly frightened.” Most of the girls had no religious background and would most likely be resistant to her discussion. Lewis passed along this advice,
“Remember that resistance at the time means very little. Those who resist most violently in words are often those who go away and think it over most fruitfully.”1
“At the time” the resistance seems so total and final. Don’t confuse the video with the snapshot.
“At last he came to his senses and said, ‘All my father’s hired workers have more than they can eat, and here I am about to starve!’” – Luke 15:17, Good News Bible
- Walter Hooper, ed., The Collected Letters of C. S. Lewis: Books, Broadcasts, and the War 1931-1949, Vol. II (New York: HarperSanFrancisco, 2004), 452.