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When the Fog Lifts


Wake up routines are as fascinating as they are varied! Some people set alarms (even across the room!); others rely on pets to alert them to rising time. It can be an effective practice to set the timer on the coffee pot the evening before so that one awakens to the aroma of freshly-brewing java. When my sister and I shared a bedroom as youngsters, our father would reach through the door and turn the overhead light on and off, on and off, on and off until we wailed for him to stop. Pot and pans banging and clanging together work well for sleepy-headed youth on a retreat. At whatever time and in whatever manner we awaken, it can often feel like coming out of a fog.

Reflecting the actual experience of traveling through a low-lying cloud cover with compromised visibility, we describe a lack of clarity in life as being “in a fog.” Sometimes we search for something that will jolt us awake (figuratively speaking) and sometimes we simply bumble along, fumbling through our days and nights as best we can. Only when the fog lifts do we feel that we can think clearly once more, make rational decisions, understand the meaning of a conversation, put the pieces of a puzzling encounter together, and move confidently forward with renewed vision.

Much in life has the potential to cloud our thinking and compromise our vision. Loss, and its companion grief, are reliable fog generators. Shifts such as career changes or geographic moves or divorce or a major health issue can also induce muddling conditions in our heads and hearts. But it’s possible that we may gain benefits by journeying through the foggy times. Perhaps with clearer vision we sharpen our priorities. Maybe tumbling while bumbling increases our resilience. And it could be that the fog afforded us much-needed reflection. Still, it can be a bewildering exercise to reset our bearings when the fog lifts.

Whenever it shows up and however much of us it swallows, we need not fear the fog if we are always prepared for its unannounced arrival. A sturdy value system is a dependable guide. The encouragement of others is a beckoning beacon. Trust in the forecast predicting the fog’s eventual dissipation is fundamental fuel. Ultimately and repeatedly, we learn it is love that burns on when all else fails.

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