Waiting For The Fog To Clear

‘As I stand atop this cliff

I look out to the sea

And as I gaze I wonder

Will this fog ever lift

So the ocean I will see.

All around me is a mist

With shapes like shadows hide

But now the dawn does break

The things that were uncertain

Now revealed by the light.’

A few years ago, our family took a trip to the California coast to move our youngest, our son, to his first year of college at Cal Poly in San Luis Obispo. For my wife and I it was a trip of mixed emotions saying goodbye to our son while enjoying the beauty of the area. As parents, we were very proud of him for having the courage to move so far from home but we knew we would miss him greatly. We had confidence that he would do well but we also felt some fear from thinking about the trials he most likely would encounter. On his own, away from home. Away from us.

After spending a couple days in SLO with him, my wife and I, along with his two older sisters, gave our goodbye hugs and kisses and started our journey up the coast back to San Francisco. Driving Highway 1 north we saw the most spectacular scenery. I honestly can’t remember how many times we pulled off the road to just stand and gaze from the cliffs to the sea. It was breathtaking how the light cascaded down the cliffs to dance upon the waters. It was spectacular.

One morning back in San Francisco there was a very heavy fog over the bay. From the hilltop near our hotel, I could see the early sun glistening of the tops of the Golden Gate Bridge. But about a third of the way down the steel beams disappeared and further down the road was completely hidden by the fog. It was a very surreal sight. In the same instant there was the clarity of the light and the uncertainty of the unseen. That vision and feeling comes back to me every time I think about our trip.

Fog. We’ve all seen it. Been in it. Felt it on our skin. We’ve breathed in the damp coolness. In a way it’s refreshing. There’s a stillness to it as well. Sort of peaceful although somewhat uncomfortable or unnerving. You know there are things hidden beyond what your eye can perceive. You know they are there because you’ve seen them before but now, in this moment, they’re cloaked by a mist. And you may question if they truly do exist. You wait for the fog to lift. For the world around you to be as it was before.

An earthly cloud is just one type of fog I’ve experienced in my life. There have been times, more than I wished, when I lived in a fog. Uncertain of where I was and what was going on around me. I couldn’t see beyond the next step and sometimes even that wasn’t very clear. I felt lost and alone with no certainty of what I would see next. Afraid to move forward. I wondered if the fog would ever clear.

And then it did. Slowly shapes became sharper and I could see what was ahead of me. What was around me. The light began to burn away the curtain my world had been wrapped in. Soon the uncertainty that surrounded me was vanishing. Disappearing into the sky. The fog I was living in had lifted and I was again living in the light.

I’ve come to understand that in those times of being in a fog, there really is very little I can do to make it go away. I’ve learned two things though that I can do. One, is to be faithful in the knowledge that this current fog, no matter how thick it may seem, will also eventually lift. And two, be brave enough to wait in the midst of it until I can take that next step. Not easy things to do but things I still need to do.

Over the past month living in the Terra, there have been many mornings where there was a fog in or around the campsite. The Doodle and I would venture out into it and take in all that our senses could manage. We would walk through it just a few steps at a time and stand to look around. Surprisingly we often saw, heard, or felt something we probably would have missed had the fog not been there. A hidden experience the fog revealed. Unexpected. Thankful.

Both clear and foggy days lie ahead for all of us in this life. And when the fog comes again I know I will be okay. It will lift and the light will make things clear. It always has and always will if I am brave and have faith.

See you down the road my friends….

A Walk and A Talk

The sunsets the past two nights here in Central Ohio have been gorgeous. So many hues and colors. The science behind why this happens is very interesting but for me it’s the beauty of it that amazes me the most. I just have to pause and give myself time to take it in. To be awed and inspired.

Tonight while walking the Doodle and watching the kaleidoscope of color in the western sky, I found myself thinking about the past two weeks and the people and places I’ve encountered.

I recently returned home from a trip across the Northwestern United States and during that trip I visited places and met people that were truly beautiful and awe inspiring.

I traveled by plane, train, and automobile (sounds like a movie huh). I visited Glacier National Park, Multnomah Falls, Mount Saint Helens, and Haystack Rock at Cannon Beach.

I saw the beauty of plains and prairies, mountain peaks and lakes, pristine forests, mighty rivers, and a glistening ocean. So many spectacular places that moved me, many to tears, by their splendor and majesty.

I was inspired by many people I meet as well. Daniel, a Native American Blackfoot, who shared some of his life story about growing up and living on reservation. Neil, a driver and baggage handler at East Glacier Lodge, who made a living working seasonal jobs across the country. I met Martha and Karl as well as Ron, at the two Airbnbs I stayed with and was blessed by their hospitality and kindness. And I was happily surprised to meet up with an old young friend, Austin, whom I hadn’t seen in quite a few years.

My trip was a wonderful journey which allowed me to see some pretty amazing places and get to know some pretty cool folks. And my trip has also given me the opportunity to think about all the places I’ve been and people I’ve known along my life journey. I think it’s when we reflect back on our lives, that we truly see and appreciate where we have been and who we have known. And helps us to better understand who we have become.

The message our senior pastor shared this morning was a message focused on belonging. He talked about how in today’s society, we are encouraged and even pressured, to do everything on our own. To be self-reliant and independent. To be strong. To be successful. To be a force of one.

He went on to explain that as a follower of Christ, we are called to find our strength, our greatest potential, not by going it alone but by belonging. Belonging to a God that loves us and belonging to one another through love. That the strength found in belonging is greater than anything we can achieve on our own. My life experiences show me this is true.

I see it this way. Through belonging, our individual strength is increased because of the support and encouragement we receive from those around us. Those we belong to. And in return, our increase strengthens the group of those we belong to.

It’s a cycle that is like a mountain which over time continues to strengthen and build itself higher with each new uplifting addition. And like a river that continues to grow deeper and wider from the inflow of its tributaries as it flows to the ocean. And like a forest that grows stronger and closer with each new sapling. Belonging to someone and something greater than ourselves. This is where strength comes from.

Tonight, once the sun had slipped below the horizon and the night sky began to replace the setting colors, the Doodle and I finished our walk. While we were walking, I talked with God about what I was thinking and feeling. I thanked Him for the beauty of His creation and the people he has brought into my life so far. I thanked Him for accepting me, no, make that saving me, so that I can now belong in a family, His family, where I can become stronger with those that love me. And I asked Him to continue to guide me to the places I still have to go and people I still have to meet.

The world around us is an amazing thing which can be overpowering at times. But you don’t have to go it alone. May we all be strengthened, inspired, and awed in belonging to God and one another.

See you down there road….