Headlights and Foggy Nights
Mostly my days feel light.
Sometimes my days feel dark though.
I’m an introvert. I tend to process things quietly. It’s a slight bend in the road that can easily catch me in a loop of discouraging introspection. Sometimes it becomes a spiral…and it gets dark.
I just did a quick Bible reference search on “darkness.” Nearly 200 mentions. And they aren’t warm or comforting mentions. Mostly you could read them with a long, deep, and gloomy tone.
Darkness was over the earth before God spoke.
Egypt was draped in darkness.
The mountain of God stood in darkness as Moses approached.
Darkness is Job’s choice descriptor for his calamitous life season.
The sin of God’s people is as darkness.
Ages Israel’s history are marked by darkness.
Darkness was over the land while Jesus hung on the cross.
Unfruitful works are darkness.
In the end, the Beast’s kingdom is plunged into darkness.
Darkness is dreadful or thick or deep or great or heavy.
Darkness thunders and looms and hangs and covers.
In the darkness people grope, search, peer, sit, wait, dwell, and walk about.
That was then. How about now? Well, here comes Halloween again, bright and cheery as it is. Save a few subcultures and seasons, mostly we don’t get amped up about darkness. Darkness has a value of lesser attention.
It occurs to me though, is it the darkness or the feeling of blindness that we trend away from? Frankly, I’m not inclined to walk in an intense glaring brightness any more than I am inclined to walk in darkness. Neither allows any ease of sight. Neither affords a clear-viewed image of what is real and right there.
We’ve had a lot of fog in Blaine lately. The slow rolling bank of earth sweat creeps through town with a haunting appeal, usually sometime at night. Dawn comes late. Mid-day feels like dusk. And often enough, whole days feel like living in a cloud.
Ever have days like that?
When the moments of life mount with whitened murk and mist? I do.
Life feels blurry, huh?
I’m no meteorologist so I don’t know much about fog. I do know, however, it gets dodgy for driving when you throw in the darkness of night. And I also know when you’re driving in it at night, you shouldn’t use your high beam headlights…but sometimes I forget.
Sometimes I’m driving along at night. The sky is clear. The moon is thin. The stars are plenty. The road is stretching out long and lonely. Being miles away from the nearest streetlight, I click on the high beam headlights. Boom, light in the darkness. No shadow of turning, no surprises.
You with me?
When the moments of life are clipping along at a nicely metered pace with clear visibility stretched out before us?
Then, with little notice, I round a bend in the road and find myself steeped in fog. Now I can barely see the lines on the road…including the fog line. (Who decided to paint those white anyway?) Boom, bright in the lightness. I slow my car to a crawl, lean into the steering wheel, and squint my eyes; as though somehow I’ll see further and clearer with eyes half shut.
Been there ever?
When the moments of life are all show and shine, easy-as-she-goes; then without warning, whitened murk and mist combine with thick dark night?
It doesn’t take much, huh? That bend in the road can be as slight as a comment laced with sarcasm. Or it can be as sharp as a pink slip at work. It doesn’t take much to chase me inward toward that loop of discouraging introspection. I crane my neck to read street signs before they pass, second guess landmarks, miss turns. And all the while, the brightened high beams of previous clarity are now refracting furiously through the fog pressing visibility to near zero. Everything I’ve known to be true is either so dark I can’t see it or so glaringly bright I can’t even look at it. I’m blind.
Just over a week ago now – and I couldn’t tell you what tipped it off; what that bend in the road was that steered me toward the loop – but just over a week ago I remember one day my heart was swollen with joy and clear-viewed enthusiasm and the next day, just around the bend, my heart was sunken with discouragement and blind apathy.
“Oil and perfume make the heart glad, and the sweetness of a friend comes from his earnest counsel.”
~ Proverbs 27:9
Good words, huh? Enter a few good friends.
I made a call. Over the course of the next several moments stacked on end, my friend dampened the glare. He reached over amidst the panic of sudden blindness and flicked off my high-beam lights. Boom, darken the brightness.
He listened carefully. He built me up with truth. He called out my pride and folly. He offered humility and wisdom. He reminded me of what is good and right and true…about God and about me in light of God. He didn’t take away the fog. He helped remove the blinding glare so I could maneuver through it.
And in the end, out the other side of the thick fog, this verse from David’s song of deliverance…
“For you are my lamp, O LORD, and my God lightens my darkness.”
~ 2 Samuel 22:29