Today’s post is by Leah Rampy.
The fog rolls in softly, creeping over the hills and creating new folds of landscape as colors fade to black and white. No longer able to see clearly the road ahead, I slow my car. Sounds now muffled, I relish the shifting configuration of clouds, the new shapes of once familiar objects, and the quiet solitude of my journey. The fog intensifies and I slow again.
A term from a once-used drivers’ manual comes to mind: overdriving your headlights. Overdriving your headlights occurs when you go so fast that your stopping distance is further than the illumination of your headlights. This, the manuals tell us, is dangerous as you may crash into an object ahead. Indeed! And I note with chagrin that this is a good description of how I act all too often!
When I am blessed with a sliver of discernment and I can see just the next step I’m invited to take, I often have a moment of gratitude. Then curiosity – or could it be a need for control? – takes over; I want to know more. Where is my final destination? I could get “there” so much better/faster/more efficiently if I knew where “there” was! Indulging my thinking mind, I hypothesize the outcome: ah, that must be what God has in mind for me! Then, confident of my knowledge, I leap into action, running pell-mell ahead of the illumination of the Spirit. And I go astray – or I crash.
What is it in me that resists the fog of life? Can I not slow my speed, enjoy the shifting shapes present in the now, rest in the softness and quiet of the moment, and trust that the path ahead will be illuminated in its time? I seem to have a tendency to make transitions more difficult than they need to be.
Roaming the internet while reflecting on this topic, I came across a blog on PsychCentral that seemed beautifully serendipitous. Maud Purcell, LCSW, wrote, “Our complex thought processes help us to survive challenging circumstances. Yet these very same processes preclude us from thriving during times of change.” We over analyze and over worry. Take one day at a time, the author encourages. Take care of yourself, allow your emotions, accept the situation, and give yourself time. In other words, don’t overdrive your headlights!
The blog ends with an admonition to have faith. Have faith! The promise is there in the manual. “We don’t yet see things clearly. We’re squinting in a fog, peering through a mist. But it won’t be long before the weather clears and the sun shines bright! We’ll see it all then, see it all as clearly as God sees us, knowing him directly just as he knows us!” (The Message, 1 Corinthians 13:12)
Today I’m driving slowly in the fog, appreciating the journey though soft, shifting shapes, calm in the assurance that the Holy One who set me on this road will reveal what I need to see as I need to see it. How is your journey through the fog? I’d love to hear from you.
Leah Rampy, Shalem’s Executive Director, has a background in corporate management and leadership consulting as well as a deep passion for contemplative living and care of the Earth. She has a PhD in Curriculum from Indiana University and is a graduate of Shalem’s Living in God: Personal Spiritual Deepening; and Transforming Community: Leading Contemplative Prayer Groups & Retreats Programs.
Reference: Maud M. Purcell, LCSW, CEAP. “Don’t Think. Thrive Your Way through Transition.” www.psychcentral.com
Photo by Christy Berghoef