I’ve been thinking a lot about fog lately.
I have vivid memories of riding the bus to school on those early fall Indiana mornings. I was one of the first ones on the bus in the mornings and the bus would be nearly empty as I made my way down the aisle. In the loudness of the engine and the jostle of the wheels that magnified each bump, I would lean my cheek against the window and look out over the fields. And on many mornings, we would lumber down a hill and find ourselves in a pocket of fog. For just a few seconds we would be enveloped in the mist before we would ascend the hill and it would disappear.
After the hot summer winds, when the coolness of Fall begins, I love to stare out the window, coffee in hand and watch the fog slowly disappear. There’s a hush on those mornings and things seem to slow down somehow. The heat of the summer, along with the fun of late nights and busy-lazy days, is giving way to something new and unknown about the new season. I fight fall because it means my kids are getting older and the unscheduled summer will soon give way to the over-scheduled school season, but I love the mornings when I can slip away and feel the fog.
How vividly I remember taking my sick baby to the emergency room, knowing that something was desperately wrong with her. When they moved us from the curtained room to the private room and I looked up to see the doctor with tears in her eyes and I heard the door click shut, I felt myself sinking into a deep fog.
And when, a mere week later, I watched the truck pull into the cemetery to dig a hole meant for my Annie, I thought I would drown in that fog and that I would never breathe normally again.
Shortly after Annie died, we took the kids to the doctor for their annual check-ups. Our doctor took our hands and he prayed for us and told us that the human brain will only process what it can, as it can. Eventually, the mind-numbing tragedy would become clearer. The fog would slowly lift.
As that mound of dirt over her body slowly sunk until it was ground level and then grew grass, I experienced some of the richest times I’ve ever had in my relationship with Christ. He enveloped me and gave me peace. The words of the Bible rang deep and true and brought comfort. The notes and cards and “I’m praying” reminders were daily. The unimportant things in life were stripped away and were strangely hard to see. In my deepest pain, I was most sure of who I was.
When you lose a baby, or overcome an obstacle that most people have nightmares over, they will often tell you that you are strong. Only you will know that the total opposite is true as you feel like you’re dangling off the edge of a twelve story building with your fingers slowly slipping.
Those who live in the shelter of the Most High will find rest in the shadow of the Almighty.
2 This I declare about the Lord:
He alone is my refuge, my place of safety;
he is my God, and I trust him.
For he will rescue you from every trap and protect you from deadly disease.
He will cover you with his feathers. He will shelter you with his wings.
His faithful promises are your armor and protection.
When my fingers failed me, and I found myself tumbling down, down, down . . . He caught me. He gave me a refuge, a shelter, a fog.
I nestled into that fog, I wrapped it around me and breathed it in until my lungs hurt. I sat on the couch during nap time and I just stared out the window. I went to bed each night, simply relieved that I was one day closer to Heaven. My sadness scared me, my grief was overwhelming, and I’m sure Peter wondered if he’d ever have his wife back. But in the midst of it all, I had Jesus. And I knew that somehow I would be okay.
Saturday marks three years since The Day My Life Changed. This summer, well, it’s been the hardest season yet since the days immediately after Annie died. Because the fog finally lifted. I was forced to deal with some things that I had stuffed down deep, thinking they would disappear (p.s. they don’t disappear). I’ve felt so fragile this summer . . . coming to terms with my identity now that the fog has lifted.
Dare I say I miss the fog?
But today is a new day. The season is changing and I know, know, know that the promises of Christ are still my armor and protection . . . just in a new way. A dear friend told me, “You’ll never get over losing Annie, but you will move forward.” That’s what I’m doing, slowly but surely.
A step at a time, I’m breathing in new air, filling my lungs with the sweet freshness of His Grace that goes before me.