As I was heading home from a quick trip to the high country, I found myself driving into a thick patch of fog. I had been enjoying seeing the beauty of the mountains through my car window, the snow dusted pine trees, the creek with fresh water breaking through the ice. But suddenly the beauty was gone. It had disappeared as the fog settled around the car windows.
And I was reminded how grief is a lot like fog.
- How it takes away the ability to see the beauty in life. How the beauty that surrounds us hasn’t actually gone away, but is blocked by heartache and pain, depression and sorrow. The fog of grief. This fog obstructs our vision, making it impossible to see clearly and interpret our surroundings, no matter how beautiful they might be.
- How it causes isolation. How it can separate us from others, those who have not been touched by it. Life continues beyond the fog, but we are not included in it and no longer understand it. It’s difficult to comprehend the existence of life outside of the fog, life that is moving and thriving. Because a life consumed by grief seems to be frozen in time.
- How it causes one to feel invisible. How we cannot see past the fog and others cannot see into it. Their vision does not allow them to see the pain, the all-consuming grief. They cannot reach us because they lack insight and understanding. They continue to participate in life and we remain hidden in the fog.
- How it causes one to feel forgotten. How it makes life difficult to navigate and we fall short of society’s expectations. Others often expect the fog to dissipate more quickly than it does and they tend to grow weary in waiting for us to come out of it. We get lost in the fog of grief and people stop trying to find us.
- How it makes one feel unnoticed. How the fog keeps us from accomplishing much, at least by societal standards. Trudging through the fog of grief is hard work. It’s slow and there isn’t always a forward progression. It takes loads of energy just to keep standing, walking, trudging. Surviving each day while maneuvering through the fog is an accomplishment, though it goes unnoticed.
But the fog cannot last forever.
We long to see beauty again. And one day we do. One day the fog lifts and the sun begins to shine again. Our eyes see more clearly and we begin to see ourselves the way God see us, broken yet beautiful.
We long to be seen and understood. And one day we are. As we muster the strength to tell our story and gain the energy to embrace life again. And we realize that God has been watching and listening all along.
We long for our story to matter. And one day, we realize that it does. When we meet another who has walked through the fog. When we say the name of the one we lost. When we lend a hand to another who is hurting. When we realize that God has been there all along and every bit of our story matters to Him.
And as the fog lifts, we see the pain transform into beauty.