Mary and I were in Owensboro Friday night to attend a diocesan event early Saturday, and on our hotel room wall was a striking photograph of a country lane on a foggy morning. Flanking the lane were two trees seen clearly in the foreground.
In the background of the photo, made all the more dramatic in black and white, the lane continued into the fog, with two more trees partially hidden in the mist. Whatever sat beyond that point was anyone’s guess.
As I stood reflecting on the picture, it seemed the fog was, at the same time, both troublesome and helpful.
If we had never travelled that country lane, we would have appreciated a clean view of what was ahead. And we prefer, do we not, to see clearly what our future holds. Fog, in a photo or in real life, adds an element of mystery, of uncertainty. We want to know what’s coming; we want our questions answered.
But fog also causes us to slow down and be more careful within our immediate surroundings. We take necessary extra time to ensure we properly handle the tasks at hand in the present moment. First things first, as an old coach said. You have to catch the ball before you throw it.
And staying aware of our immediate surroundings gives us a better chance to react as we should to those unexpected moments God gives us to make a difference in the lives of others. Such moments come more often than we may ever realize, and believers are required to be ready for them.
Planning for the future is important, but it must not be done at the expense of the present, causing missed chances to do good.
Besides, whether it be smooth sailing, a bumpy ride, or a bit of both — which is most likely — we can’t predict our future. There is only so much we can do to get ready.
And hey, wouldn’t life be a bit boring if we knew all the answers to all the questions beforehand? For example, occasionally in my nine years since ordination, I get asked for specific details about life in heaven. My response? If we’re in heaven with Jesus, specific details aren’t going to matter!
So if our future feels foggy and uncertain, let’s do what we’re supposed to do as believers and depend on our faith in the Lord. If we allow it, He will guide us through the mists, and safely home.
Michael Clapp is deacon at St. Joseph Catholic Church in Mayfield.