Hello, folks and welcome to the fog. Hold on tightly to the person in front of you and keep moving forward. That’s how I feel right about now. This is the fog of transition—in my case, bringing home a new baby—in your case, maybe something totally different. It’s a fog that makes your “normal” look a little hazy; a fog that makes it kind of hard to see exactly where you are or where you are headed or your own hand in front of your face. If that makes sense to you, then consider me your new BFF.
I’ve been here before. I’m on my way to expert status. Survivor-of-the-fog me wants to say this to in-the-fog-me: be patient with yourself. It won’t be like this forever. This is a season you are in. Moving through it takes time. It will lift. You’ll see things clearly again. Take a deep breath and just be where you are.
But in-the-fog-me wants this fog to lift now. I want to have a handle on things now. I want to see some sunshine, a place I recognize, and a stack of jeans I can zip.
Still, in the fog I sit…and nurse and change diapers and accidentally show up to Mass in slippers. There’s something about it, though. Something that God, in His goodness, is whispering to me. The fog creates a space. It makes a quiet, a stillness. It eliminates distraction. There’s an intimacy to it. It hides you in a way—covers you, builds a little tent that can be a nice meeting place for you and the Lord.
Maybe the fog is meant to create a sort of spiritual muscle memory. Maybe it’s a good thing to be backed into that kind of corner when stability seems a little out of reach so the only thing to cling to is what is recognizable: the rhythms of the Church, the truths of the gospel, the presence of Jesus in the Eucharist. Maybe we are supposed to spend this time getting to know how that really feels so that when the fog lifts revealing the million shiny things in which we could be tempted to place our hope, we still cling only to what is really real. It’s the lesson I feel like He’s been teaching me my whole life: He is all there really ever is.
I keep thinking about the road to Emmaus in the Gospel of Luke. I think about what it would have been like to live as a disciple of Jesus in the days after His crucifixion and resurrection from the dead. I imagine that was something of a fog: we know that something has happened here, something real, something profound, something that changes everything. We’re just not sure what to make of it yet, what it really is, or what its implications in our lives might be. Maybe that’s how they felt as they walked down the road, discussing the events of the past few days, surprised by this guy who shows up out of nowhere to share the journey, to join the conversation, not recognizing Jesus right their midst.
“When he had taken his place at the table with them, he took the bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to them. At this point their eyes were opened and they recognized him. Then he vanished out of their sight. They said to each other, ‘Didn’t our hearts burn within us while he was speaking with us on the road, while he was explaining the scriptures to us?’”
Didn’t our hearts burn within us? They didn’t recognize Him, but Jesus was right there, just a’walkin’ down the road, right beside them. That’s me now. That’s how life is in the fog. It’s hard to recognize what is right in front of you, that person you’ve been instructed to hold onto tightly as you try to move forward. But, it’s Him. Always…in the fog and out of it, made present to us in the mystery of the Eucharist.
And this little message that the Lord has laid on my heart is pretty straightforward, pretty hard to misread (as He knows it has to be for my weary mind). They recognized Him in the breaking of the bread. No matter how unfamiliar and unsteady life sometimes gets to be, He is there in the midst of it all, hidden in the Eucharist, in the simple, on the journey alongside you and me—in the glory of warm sunshine and in the quiet of a fog. Just be where you are. Hold on tightly to Him and keep moving forward.
Copyright Kelly Pease 2016
Photo: by Harman Adiwardani (2016) via stocksnap, CC