Driving In The Fog
Driving in the Fog: Dr. Thom Gardner As I’m sitting at my laptop this moment, our world is dealing with a serious and deadly pandemic. We have been ordered to stay at home and separated from one another physically. Many are compromised in health or finances. Of all the challenges presented to us, perhaps the most unsettling thing is that we don’t know what’s coming next. When will this plague be over? When will we get back to normal, whatever that is? For sure, this is not the first time in history we have experienced this kind of circumstance and not likely the last. What we are experiencing as a people, we will also encounter as individuals and families. In these times we may feel isolated and alone, even anxious. We may feel frozen and maybe a little trapped. We are experiencing the fog of war with an unseen enemy, and there is no certain time when this fog will lift. We cannot see. The other day I was thinking about this current fog when a memory surfaced out of the distant past of a driving lesson Dad provided. At this moment I don’t recall the exact manner the lesson was conveyed, but it had to do with driving in the fog. I believe this was after our family moved from Illinois to Pennsylvania. Having grown up in the flatlands of Illinois, I was not used to driving through the rolling hills and valleys of Pennsylvania. I learned that at certain times of the year, fog tends to settle between the many hills especially at night. It can be so thick that driving becomes an exercise in patience. Our hands grip the steering wheel more tightly and we strain our necks forward into the fog and peer into the translucence. I remember Dad’s words: “Thom, when you drive in the fog at night, you will be tempted to put on your high beam lights, but that will actually cause the fog to be worse because it reflects back to you. So, when its foggy, turn on your low-beams and slow down.” This may not have been a verbatim of the lesson, but you get the idea. I recalled that lesson many times then and since. When I drive through the fog, Dad’s word is still with me. Dad’s driving in the fog lesson is clear to me today in this foggy time. It still applies. I will speak for myself. When I’m in a fog of whatever type, I’m tempted to want to turn on my high-beams and figure out what’s around the next bend in the road. I’m human: it’s what we all do. We are an impatient species. When there is a fog, I need to put on my low-beams, that is, I need to pay attention to what is right in front of me and slow down. This current season of a pandemic may present to us an opportunity to apply Dad’s driving lesson. So, how might we all switch on our low-beams and pay attention to what is in front of us? How might we slow down a bit? First, we can pay attention to the people with us and learn to be a little more present to each other. We can listen to one another, really listen. We can pick up the phone and call someone else who is sequestered at this time. Turning on our low-beams may be paying attention to who or what is in front of us—not getting too far ahead of ourselves and trying to strategize the next move. Who is in front of us? We can include our relationship with God. What is God doing right in front of us? Who might He lead us to connect or reconnect with? I suggest we slow down by meditating on Psalm 131. I’ll include it here: O LORD, my heart is not proud, nor do I have a haughty look. I do not have great aspirations, or concern myself with things that are beyond me. Indeed I am composed and quiet, like a young child carried by its mother; I am content like the young child I carry. O Israel, hope in the LORD now and forevermore! Read the test slowly a couple times paying attention to the words. Turn down your high-beams and slow down and be present to the God who is present to you. He is in the seat right beside you even as you read these words. At the risk of being redundant, switch on your low beams… slow down. Thanks, Dad.