The fog lay gently on the lake this morning as I left for my daily walk. A loon called from beyond my field of vision.The colors of the morning faded into the gray dampness.
When I was very young we lived by the ocean, where the fog often lay thick and heavy over my neighborhood. I remember marveling at how the small circle of visibility moved with me as I walked in my saddle shoes the six blocks to school. In the distance I could hear the foghorn at the lighthouse warning unwary ships away from the rocky cliffs.
As a child the fog was comforting to me, muffling the noise of a busy world, closing in around me like a reassuring presence while the foghorn’s lullaby accompanied me in my bed.
As an adult, I no longer welcome the fog. I want to know where I’m going and control the journey to get there. Fog forces me to slow down and focus only on what is right in front of me. So when the fog of suffering or confusion obscures my way, I fight it. I clamor for direction and success. But fog and trouble both have a way of obscuring the peripheral and sharpening our focus onto the immediate.
Each of us is making our way through the fog right now. We don’t know if we’re walking toward a cliff or toward a ladder. Politics has exchanged truth for sound bites. Protests have erupted in our cities and a pandemic haunts our daily lives. So we cling to our tribal divisions for answers and distrust anyone outside our circle of visibility.
Proverbs 18:2 says, “Fools find no pleasure in understanding but delight in airing their own opinions.” Some of us have grown so intoxicated with the heady power of our own opinions that we think nothing of kneeling on the necks of those who disagree.
God’s word is described in Psalm 119 as a light for our feet. Not a floodlight for the entire road, but a path through the fog of our circumstances. It reminds us that the only way forward is by lowering our eyes in humility and taking heed to our steps, staying close to the light of God’s word as we make our way gently through the darkness. In the slowing down and paying attention, we can find a better way through than anger, and a wisdom that holds us up better than pride.
The farther I walked, the lighter the fog became until it finally lifted just as I returned home. As I turned into the driveway I noticed that color had returned to the spring morning. In the fog’s dissipating, the damp grass glistened in the sunlight.
All fog lifts eventually. But if we’re not careful, we’ll miss the glittering gifts it leaves behind.