Thursday, February 16, 2012

What if God IS the fog?

Even though we've been back at Notre Dame for weeks, I find myself still thinking about the retreat we had at the Abbey of Gethsemani, and the words that were imparted by the students in my choir.

One of the extraordinary talks that was shared, by one of our Juniors, was about an event that took place along the Camino de Compostela in Spain. On this pilgrimage, this particular choir member became separated from the rest of his friends, and he found himself smack dab in the middle of one of those overwhelming fog banks that rolls into the high mountains. The Camino, at times, is not well-marked; this young man found himself alone, lost, battling fear, not knowing which way to turn.

But here is where the remarkable insight of this choir member kicked in. As the fog enveloped him, his first response was to see it as an adversary, as an enemy, something keeping him from finding his way. But then he sat down. Took a while to pray. And this is what his prayer told him: what if the fog wasn't his adversary? What if the fog was God?

And then, almost as if God was proving the point to this young man, he happened to look down as he was sitting there. And out of his mouth – came the fog of his own breathing. God was in that, too.

There is a lot of fog around Notre Dame right now (and not just with the picture of the Basilica that I snapped on the way in to work today). A cloud of unknowing: Which path to choose? Which internship to accept? What will happen after graduation? What major to declare? Yet in all of this, I believe the story of my fellow chorister offers a great lesson: sit, wait, pray.

What if the fog is not our adversary? What if the fog IS God, surrounding us, accompanying us, enveloping us on your journey. To paraphrase the Book of Job: if God gives us the bright sunshine, must we also be given the fog as well? Both come from our Creator. Both are part of the journey. Our challenge is not to give in to the uncertainty, to the fear. We simply need to see God in the fog.

1 comment:

  1. I really like this sentiment, Steve. Going along with that, all of us will face adversity and closed doors in life. My mother always said that when God closes one door, it's because another, better door is about to open. Be willing to accept failures and trials along the way, because they strengthen you and prepare you for what's to come.