As I looked out over the Guadalhorce valley in the early morning light, everything was blanketed in mist. The mountains on the opposite side of the valley, usually clearly visible from my balcony, were indecipherable and blurry. The mist changed my view of everything and made it difficult to discern shapes in the landscape, even those that are familiar to me.
Life can be like this sometimes.
For whatever reason - some shifting weather pattern, a change in the prevailing wind - mist rolls in. The perspective that once felt familiar now takes on a different aspect. The things we saw clearly are now more fuzzy. There is something unfamiliar and disconcerting about this unexpected shrouding of our normal experience.
For me, yet another cross-cultural transition ushered in a particularly misty time. The combination of stage of life, family members' needs, ministry development and the sudden lack of community that accompanied this transition all contributed to a sense that my usual ways of seeing had deserted me in this new and unfamiliar landscape.
If you find yourself in the mist, it is important to know that you are not alone.
It is one thing for me to stand on my balcony and observe the mist, it is another thing altogether to navigate my way in the mist. My normal reference points are no longer helpful, something about the unfamiliarity seems to knock my usual instincts off kilter, and I can become confused and anxious.
Likewise, when life leads us into a place where we see less clearly it can feel very confusing. It could be that transition is heading our way, or perhaps we are facing some reality for which our old ways of processing life and faith are inadequate. Whatever the reason, the things we once took for granted - that we thought would always seem the same somehow - now present themselves to us in a new and possibly disorienting way. The signposts or landmarks we habitually look for are no longer evident.
Eventually, the mist will clear.