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For the past week, I have awakened to the beauty of a quiet mountain lake; the early rays of light reflecting off the gentle ripple of the surface. From three balconies and more windows that we could count, the view of a quiet basin of water stretched out before our eyes… except when we couldn’t see a thing! Several mornings greeted us with a blanket of fog so dense we could barely see the railing of the balcony. The water below and the shoreline across the way were shrouded in grey… the serene beauty literally lost in the clouds. What a fascinating experience to be denied a visual perception of the world. While I delighted in the clear mornings, those foggy mornings offered a series of simple parables that left me thinking…
The first foggy morning, we just waited until the fog burned off and the world emerged from its shroud. Inwardly, I complained about the interruption to my plans for the day. My run and the kayak excursion that I had planned for that morning had to wait. I hate to admit my impatience… I know vacation is the time when you should be able to claim a relaxed schedule. But I always have a list of things I want to accomplish, and the fog threw an unwanted stumbling block in the way. Yet, while I waited impatiently in my room, I looked out at the balcony and saw the most amazing sight. There between the railings was a spectacular spider’s web. The water droplets from the fog hung from the strands of the web, highlighting its design. Once the fog cleared, the water droplets dried, and the web went back into obscurity. Were it not for the fog, I would never have stopped long enough to notice the woven tapestry hanging delicately off our balcony. I wonder how many other gifts from the Creator I miss as I move quickly through my day…
The next foggy morning found me yet again impatient. I wanted to get my run in before the other members of our household were up. But once again the fog threatened to delay my departure, until Greg found a map of our neighborhood on his iPad. We studied the streets, memorizing the names and turns that would allow us to navigate through the foggy streets and back to our home again. A right, then two lefts… one street name after another… We had to repeat the directions several times to imbed the details in our collective minds. Then we started out, making one rehearsed turn after the next. Together, we could picture the map in our minds, watching it play out as we ran along. I couldn’t help but hear my mother encouraging me to memorize God’s Word… one verse at a time… sealed in my heart and mind… that would help me navigate through the often-foggy paths of life. I remember being in the hospital years ago, not as a pastor visiting a parishioner, but as a patient fearful of my reality. Those precious words from the Bible were lifelines in a dark time. I am so thankful for a mother who taught me to memorize God’s map for life for those foggy days.
The final parable on our vacation came not from the shroud of a foggy day, but from a dark stairway. Even in the daytime, even when the sun was bright in the sky, there was one section of the stairs to our bedroom that stayed dark. One afternoon, just halfway through our vacation, I hurried down that set of stairs, anxious to get into the kitchen to make dinner with our beautiful granddaughters. They had planned an international dinner, and we had much to do before the hungry hoards descended, chopsticks in hand. I remember thinking that I should have turned the light on … that the stairs were uncomfortably dark… but before I could form another thought, I found myself at the bottom of the stairs in a rather painful pile. When you cannot see, how easy it is to miss the next step! To avoid the pain… to prevent a trip to an Urgent Care, and the brace and crutches that are now my reality, all I had to do was turn on the light. I wonder how often I struggle with the darkness of this world, when all I have to do is turn on the light… We know the Creator of Light… we know the One who said, “I am the Light of the World.” He is ready and willing to shine light into our darkness. All we have to do is ask…
I must admit, I like the sunny days better than the ones full of parables. But I am glad for a gracious God, who transformed what I saw as interruptions to my vacation into lessons this busy pastor needed to learn again. Perhaps there are some lessons you will find in the next foggy day in your life…
With you appreciating the fog a bit,
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