Sunday, November 18, 2012

life in the fog

   As autumn tip-toes toward winter Germany has become cold, wet, grey, and foggy.  The nights dip down to the point of freezing, but it can still warm up to almost 50 degrees some days, this means we’ve been treated to some very dense fog in the mornings.  The dog and I take different variations of the same trails that we’ve always run.  I know these paths well.  I know the dips in the concrete along the paved bike trails; I know the roots in the paths when we veer off through the farmer’s fields.  I know where my dog will go off exploring, and he knows the points to wait and I’ll catch up. The other morning when the fog was so thick I caught myself comparing the soupy, white mist to my life in this haze of circumstances. 

      We are not standing still; we are going down paths we know so well we could do it blindfolded.  It’s more than just “going through the motions” because we aren’t numbly functioning, but rather just doing what we know – avoiding a root, side-stepping a puddle.  The kids may be new to the school routine, but it has become comfortable and familiar to them.  They have their extra activities, their chores, their friends – and they just travel along, sure of their footing, doing what they know to do.  Day by day, moment by moment.  I have my routine as well, though it’s changed a bit, I can settle in and make it through each day.  It’s acceptable.  It’s sufficient. 

     That same day I ran, lost in thought about the fog I also had to drive the dog to be groomed.  The breeder that we bought Phantom from is the same person who grooms him.  She lives in a small village about 30 minutes away.  These are roads I only travel every 6 – 8 weeks when Phantom needs a haircut and only for the last 10 months since Rob used to shave him.  The way is windy, hilly, narrow, and unfamiliar to me.  The fog was thick and so I was driving very slowly.  I noticed that I wasn’t aware of the curves in the road until I was about 50 – 100 yards away from them.  Since the streets are unfamiliar to me and look completely different masked by fog there were points when I had no idea where I was (depending solely on my GPS).  There was construction at one point and I had to back track about 10 minutes to find the detour because I had missed the sign in the fog. 

 This is what my future feels like to me (and the kids, too) right now.  The destination is unfamiliar.  The roads are unknown.  And I’m only privy to the next small portion of road directly ahead of me.  If I try to look ahead, or go too fast, the way is too clouded and I might end up taking a curve too fast.  I’m only sure of what is right in front of me. 

      I think of God as the fog and the GPS working together.  I trust only Him to guide me to the place I’m eventually going and He only reveals to me the next 50 yards at a time.   Traveling everyday life through the fog without a GPS (because we know the roads so well) doesn’t mean that God isn’t there, but that He allows the routine to carry us forward and the everyday steps toward another day when maybe another portion of the road will be revealed. 

      Being here, in this house, in this community that we know best is a gift.  In the schools that my kids have grown to love and found kindred-spirits.  With the same coaches, teachers, and mentors that they’ve known for years.  This is a good place for us to stay the same, but at the same time a good place for us to learn how to begin to go on.  The way forward looks totally different, masked by fog, but day-to-day is much the same for us.  It works.  We can sometimes walk blindly and just trust the way we know so well and the things we’ve always done.  At the same time I know that we cannot stay here forever and there will come a time when moving on, leaving this place, will become necessary.  I don’t know yet when that will be.  I’m prayerful the kids will get to finish this school year and we can move on after Sarah’s graduation, but I don’t know.  God has only shown the next 50 yards.  Thanksgiving is next and that’s all I’ve been allowed to see.
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