I was driving in the milky underworld of fog this week when I noticed the lights: globe lights, and head lights, lights atop lampposts behind panes of glass. They must have been there every other day that I drove that road, but I had never noticed them. They were suddenly essential, the only things that seemed certain.
Like the sea floor in an ocean of skim milk, every upraised tree branch, every fuzzy car, every indistinct intersection, seemed to have been claimed by a grayscale palette. When I got close to the place I needed to turn, I clutched the wheel and strained my eyes, because my alien surroundings made me afraid I would pass the road. Gone was the sense of endless sky or massive clouds or hillsides of buildings or trees. The ceiling on our worlds had lowered, the walls had imploded, and we, accustomed to wide range, were now looking at the sides of a snow-covered aquarium.
I’ve been in places like this in my life… places where the fog of depression or anger or envy or doubts descends and the scenery suddenly seems unfamiliar. I’ve clutched steering wheels of the heart and slowed my speed and strained my eyes just to find out where I am.
But in those cases, just as on Jackson Street this Thursday, the things that saved me were the lights. The darker the thing I was going through, the more I remember the strong people nearby, who grew brighter with each deepening shade of fog and appeared to be the only certainty.
I guess you don’t notice lights much when the sun is shining. But darkness always comes in everyone’s life, and they will be looking, without doubt, for the bright things around them. Life can be fun, but it’s never a joke. If you are living quietly like Christ, you never know who’s watching you and staying safer, even if they never admit it. You may never know whose scenery you clarified, whose perspective you balanced, or who sighed with a relief to see you were there, standing, shining.
“Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father in heaven.”
Note: photos are from our honeymoon in South Texas. It snowed when we were there, for the third time in about 130 years. How’s that for darkness?! But we loved it anyway.