Letter from the editor: What chess and the Guinness brewery have in common


Gravity Bar at the top of the Guinness Brewery in Dublin, Ireland, offers a unique view. Glass windows encompass the circular space, creating the effect of one, large panorama. Standing up there, you suddenly see how the city fits together and where each building stands in relation to the others.

Like the view from Gravity Bar, chess also involves seeing farther ahead than usual. Chess-masters train their mind to think through the myriad of consequences that may result from a single move. Yet, in the case of grandmaster chess, planning ahead usually means spending grueling hours studying and staring at chessboards, which may be difficult to meld with the notion of living in the present moment. Is it possible to prepare and plan well for the future, and, at the same time, live fully in the present moment? The touchy balance between the two is an especially relevant topic of interest for college students, who are precariously positioned in a rather in-between-time of life. Be it the best time of your life or the worst, it is a brief time that will conclude sooner than you think.

Thanksgiving comes next week, and Advent arrives soon after. Finals voraciously impend, to be followed by Christmas and the New Year … then the rest of our lives, and eventually the end of life. Overthinking the future and planning too far in advance can distract us from living each day and hinder our ability to rejoice in our immediate surroundings.

Perhaps the best way to prepare for the future is to live fully in the present moment. By relinquishing the psychologically and spiritually draining worry of things outside our control, we connect with the reality of the present. By giving our past and future to God, we trust that with His panoramic view of the world, so much more glorious than Gravity Bar’s view, He will provide.

We can’t be grandmasters of life, foreseeing how each of the moves we make today will affect the end result of our life, although we know that they do. Resolving to live in the present means trusting that we don’t have to provide entirely for ourselves and abandoning the burden of past failures to God. A decision to live in the present represents a new beginning, but one that does not require waiting for Jan. 1 or even the new liturgical year to welcome in. Hello, present.

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