Anchorage has been blanketed in fog now for days. As I drove the kids to school, the fog was so dense around us that I couldn’t tell where we were on the highway. The familiar landmarks along the road were obscured and I had no idea how much ground we had covered until the next exit sign or building would emerge out of the murk and once again I would be able to get my bearings. In the meantime, I kept my eyes on the tail lights in front of me, thankful for the intrepid commuters who were forging the way ahead of us. Because the winter days are short and the nights are very dark in Alaska, the fog seems all the more deep and impenetrable.
My inner life mirrors our recent weather and foggy conditions. I am not traveling in utter blackness, but it is certainly obscure and darkened. I am not lost or frightened, I know that there is a path ahead of me, and I am pretty sure that I know where I am headed.
One of my places of greatest discomfort has always been confusion. I would much prefer pain, even deep grief, if I could make just a little bit of sense of it. But to live in uncertainty is a deeply challenging place. It requires me to relinquish control, to accept that I don’t know and to wait until some sort of understanding might dawn. Or not.
For the first time in my life, I actually feel a great relief at waiting in the dark, a new comfort with what is unknown. I have always felt obligated to get things figured out and to understand exactly what is happening and why, to know what the next step is or the next spiritual project. But, for now, I am content to be pulled along by the night, trusting that the light will come again.
There is more to my story about the fog that we experience here in Alaska, for it also offers us an amazing and wondrous experience. As the sun rises and the fog eventually lifts, the mist leaves behind a layer of perfect white crystals, hoarfrost, upon everything. Every limb, branch and piece of dried grass are covered, utterly transforming the landscape. Everything glitters. Everything is new. Perfect white against a blue, blue sky. Is it possible that my own inner landscape could also be so beautifully altered?