The Fog is Lifting
It's been a while. I am sure many of you have put off things that you did prior to Covid and have wondered just how life might ever be "like it used to be". Writing has been one practice I have abandoned in the past year. There are many reasons why...mainly because I have experienced a fog like never before. This fog has forced me only be able to focus on what has been right in front of my face. Seeing too far ahead has just been impossible. Using my peripheral vision to better solidify my physical space and position in life has been clouded to a point where I just stopped trying to even employ that unique human ability. Reflecting on what has been in the past, also - not realistic - frankly I truly haven't been able to see beyond the absolute here and now for thick white haze threatening to overtake me.
Navigating the tight space of the here and now has been really challenging as a mom. It has been foreign to me. A planner by nature, my new normal of dropping balls, forgetting dates, not responding to emails I could have sworn I did... has been really disorienting. For the first part of the pandemic, I forcefully pushed all sides of my metaphorical fog box, desperate to get out, make the space bigger, get back into planning mode. But, it did not work.
I tried setting alarms, creating very detailed daily calendars, micromanaging my husband (true confessions...) and letting my type A perfectionistic self desperately attempt to reclaim the homeostasis I once knew. But I had to change. I had to admit that I did not have all of the answers. I had to turn off the noise (the news, the alarms, the science, the hatred, the violence, the politics, the divide...). Though my Bible was never far from me, my foggy disorientation caused me to doubt, to fear, to question and to truly lament. That lamenting was necessary, friends, and it still is. For in the lamenting, I met my Jesus in a different way as I embraced the truth that He knows that emotion like no other.
I have loved spending time in the book of Isaiah in the Old Testament of the Bible lately. In Chapter 30, we find the people of Judah being called out for their rebellion against God - namely their "seeking advice from everyone but God" being driven by fear and desperate for advice, comfort and relief (NIV Study Bible commentary on Isaiah 30: 1). In their quest for answers not of God, the people of Judah were confronted by this truth in Isaiah 30:12-14:
“Because you have rejected this message, relied on oppression and depended on deceit, this sin will become for you like a high wall, cracked and bulging, that collapses suddenly, in an instant. It will break in pieces like pottery, shattered so mercilessly that among its pieces not a fragment will be found for taking coals from a hearth or scooping water out of a cistern.”
And this is in contrast to the beauty found in Isaiah: 30: 15-21:
“In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength...For the Lord is a God of justice. Blessed are all who wait for him! People of Zion, who live in Jerusalem, you will weep no more. How gracious he will be when you cry for help! As soon as he hears, he will answer you. Although the Lord gives you the bread of adversity and the water of affliction, your teachers will be hidden no more; with your own eyes you will see them. Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, “This is the way; walk in it.”
Seeking answers from anyone aside from God has been a reality in our world for a very long time. In the past, truths from science and history have often been collaborative with biblical principals. The despicable political and media gods of late, however, now stand whole heartedly against God's true justice and pervert His legacy of loving kindness. Yes, God allows "breads of adversity" and "waters of affliction" which we have surely experienced these past two years. He has also promised to go ahead of us, behind us, to our rights, to our lefts and even within us through His Holy Spirit. His posture is that of a guiding shepherd, gently leading us, one baby step at a time with a "lamp upon our feet and a light upon our path" (Psalm 119:105) through what often feels like a pitch black night without stars.
Maybe my feeling of being in a fog has been a gift. Seeing only right in front of me has allowed me to be present for my family in different ways than previous. One foot in front of the other, one day at a time has fostered moments of being present, being still and paying attention only to what I could see right before me - even if some of those immediate needs were, at the time, my "waters of affliction".
I experienced the grueling struggle of watching my child with a learning disability learn remotely. To Kill a Mockingbird was to be read nightly over the course of about a month. He got the book from school, told me he was going to read it and went on his way. Because I had been forced into the Powerschool/Google Classroom/App-for-every-single-class matrix, I quickly noticed him falling behind. His struggles with reading were very real, they were right in front of my face. I quickly realized that I had to read this book to him. I could not believe it. I did *not* have time for this amidst ALL of the other additional work Covid piled on top of me! What followed was an unexpected blessing of diving into a historical classic, where history came alive and mother and son shared questions and hard truths that spanned generations. Thank you God, for that here and now.
There have been many similar moments over the past almost two years. This time of living in and through a pandemic has changed me forever. Turns out, being in a fog has provided clarity I have never known, but deeply needed. Clinging to the truth I hold so dear in the Holy Scriptures has an even deeper meaning to me now. Because I believe in the truth as God teaches it, it enables me to be a different kind of mother, wife, daughter and friend. We need truth now more than ever. And the truth is that God loves us deeply, inviting each of us to the shelter of the safety beneath His wings where he not only shows us the way to go, but gently reminds us, tenderly nudges us and even provides a supernatural light for us in Jesus when we lose our way amidst the fog of this life.