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The Fog— (Part 1 of 3)

Updated: Jan 26, 2022

In the spring of 2020, I started meeting with a spiritual director online for about an hour once a month. I remember those first few meetings—tender and raw and cautious. I tried to be transparent in our conversations, vulnerable even, and I understood this was the only way authentic work could begin.

During one session, she asked me to describe where I was spiritually.” I remember my words—

“I am in a fog.”

She responded with an empathetic nod and asked me if I could describe it.

I was in a thick fog. I can’t see my hand stretched out at the end of my arm. I can’t hear; everything seems muffled, even muted. I am on the ledge of a rock, not precarious or dangerous. I could see the edge, but all that was beyond that edge was shrouded in the gray mist. I remained still and waited. I sat for a long time, my arms pulling my knees up to my chest, my clothes damp.

In my almost forty-year faith walk, I had never encountered a fog like this one.

Prayers clogged in the vaporous blanket around me. I couldn’t hear God’s voice, but I kept reading his word (see The Story—Dew). Few words seemed to penetrate. Only silence, inner solitude, and a waiting—almost as if I were on pause, the action stopped, like a game of freeze tag. There was nothing ominous, frightening, or numbing about the fog—it just was.

During that season, I was reading through the gospel of Mark. On the road to Jericho, a roadside beggar cried out to Jesus. Even though rebuked by many, he continued to cry out for mercy. And Jesus asked Bartimaeus, “What do you want me to do for you?”

I read and reread those words, and they lingered on the periphery of my thoughts. Early one morning, in the quiet silence of my room, I prayed. I wrote my prayers as fast as my hand would travel across the page. My hand was too slow, and I dropped the pen, prayed aloud, and asked God to dissipate the fog. As I sat there, in my mind’s eye, I watched the fog recede just enough, like a velvet curtain drawn back, and I saw Jesus sitting next to me on this slanted rock. He had been there all along.

With tangible compassion, he asked, “What do you want me to do for you?”

The same question he asked Bartimaeus—the blind man longing to see.

And the fog swirled back in, filling the space. I wept.

I have never had such a difficult time answering a question in all my life.

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