Life is not always clear-cut, Maybe I should say it is rarely clear-cut. I find much of life seems like a fog. Sometimes it is the difficulty of making decisions about school choices, finding a job or a profession. Relationships can be foggy and health issues, especially as we age, can add to the fog. Losses like the death of a parent, sibling or child bring the fog of grief. This fog of life is not always full confusion, but it is a lack of clarity and can range from a general discomfort to intense trauma.
The teen years with our now grown children gave plenty of fog, some of it dense.
(The following events are retold with Kathryn’s permissions and edits.)
More than a decade ago our daughter Kathryn attended a one year high school class reunion/party about two hours from home. The plan was to stay there for the night. My husband was away for work and I was home alone that weekend. Then came the thing every parent dreads.
Three AM, yes, it was literally three AM call when my cell phone rang, but I was in such a dead sleep I could not get to it before it stopped. The caller ID said it was Kathryn. Trying unsuccessfully to not panic, I spent the next several minutes calling back and missing her, praying frantically the whole time. My heart was racing and my fearful imaginations seemed to have no limits. Finally, we connected. She was calling from about an hour from home. She was safe, but she had fallen asleep at the wheel. The car was totaled on a tree at the side of the road. Thank God for airbags! Fortunately, someone saw her, called the police and stayed with her until they arrived.
Once I knew she was safe and the officer told me to come get her, I had already dressed so I climbed in the car. With 60 long minutes to get my head and heart in line with God, I had a lot of questions for Kathryn and for God. I was truly thankful she was well and safe. A car is a car. It was not the problem, (at least not in the predawn hours.) When I arrived at the meeting point I remember hugging her and never wanting to let go! We sat on a bench until I was ready to turn around for the 60 minutes home, with the officer sitting guard over us in his cruiser until we were ready to leave.
The ride home was good. We talked for a while, but I let her succumb to sleep as I fought to stay awake now that the adrenaline had subsided.
This event had a good ending with Kathryn safe. We still had things to talk about, but sometimes the natural consequences are enough.
I am grateful for the times when the light of God, like in the photo, shows brightly through the fog. Not all the events of the teen years had such positive endings, at least in the short-term. I think it is safe to say though, that the many foggy circumstances we faced during that season look a lot clearer as we look back.
I encourage you to keep moving through the fog of life. God did not cause it. The brokenness of this world makes it. Don’t give up. Keep seeking the face of God even when you feel abandoned. He is more interested in you getting through than you are. He will eventually burn the fog away! Let’s take to heart the words of Jeremiah from Lamentations 3. (emphasis mine.)
16 He has made my teeth grind on gravel,
and made me cower in ashes;
17 my soul is bereft of peace;
I have forgotten what happiness is;
18 so I say, “My endurance has perished;
so has my hope from the Lord.”
19 Remember my affliction and my wanderings,
the wormwood and the gall!
20 My soul continually remembers it
and is bowed down within me.
21 But this I call to mind,
and therefore I have hope:
22 The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases;
his mercies never come to an end;
23 they are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.
24 “The Lord is my portion,” says my soul,
“therefore I will hope in him.”
I close with Kathryn’s practical admonition she shared with me as we talked about this post. “No one thinks they will fall asleep at the wheel…so please take care to not drive when you are tired!”