The Fog of the Unknown

I’ve spent the last two months using every excuse I could find not to write because I already knew the words I’d be left with if I sat down long enough to muster up some courage and write them. I didn’t want to acknowledge the simple truth of ‘I don’t know’. I do not know. I’m in the thick fog of the unknown.

You know those times when you can see the path that’s been laid out before you? You know the direction you’re traveling, and you’re confident of where the road will take you. And then do you ever feel like that same path starts to get a little foggy? Like the decision you made to take that new job or make that big move once seemed so clear, but now there are these unexpected details and unforeseen obstacles that have left you blindsided. And where you’d once been able to see the long stretch of future in front of you, you’re more or less squinting trying to make out the next few feet ahead and even that feels a little hazy. That’s the fog of the unknown. And I’m not a fan of the fog. I’m not a fan of the unknown.

I’m a fan of planning. If you’re thinking of going on a trip, don’t tell me about it unless you’re looking for a list of hotels to book, restaurants to try and sights to see. I’ll put together a nice little itinerary with every detail bulleted out. I’ll list the best restaurants with backup options and suggestions for what to order. And this is not me bragging. This is me confessing. I’ll inset myself into the planning process because I love it so much.

It’s not like I was asked to plan the trip, but I will do it just to feed my need to plan. I realized this was the case after the guy in the cubicle next to mine was telling me about where he and his family were heading next for his daughter’s cheerleading competition. They travel a lot for these competitions, and he’ll casually mention the next destination as we’re discussing weekend plans. Before he can say anything else, the words are already out of my mouth. I’m already asking him where they plan to stay, what they plan to do, where they plan to eat and all the while I don’t really care about his plans. I’m just waiting for an opportunity to give him my version of what his plans should be. It’s not enough to fixate on my own plans. I’ve somehow convinced myself others need for me to plan for them too.

I love to plan. And I love when a good plan works out. But the thing is, my head has lifted a bit and my path looks a lot different than I expected. The plans, the path hasn’t taken shape like I thought they would. The fog of grief has cleared a bit, and in its place has come a new type of fog entirely. The fog of the unknown.

It’s come in the form of remembering some of the old ‘plans’. The stuff I had once wanted to do or see or accomplish. It’s left me realizing the path that I had once seen so clearly, nearly three and a half years ago, looks rather cloudy and vague at the moment. I can’t yet see far in front of me. I can no longer view that long stretch of future ahead, but I can see enough to know that there’s a road to be travelled. I just plan on travelling it a little differently now.

I’ll travel it surrendering to the fog of the unknown. I’ll spend less time planning the journey and more time taking part in the journey itself. I’m not a fan of the fog, but I’m a fan of what God does through it. When we can’t see the plans, but He can—that’s a vulnerable place to be. We can spend a lot of time crawling around on all fours blindly feeling our way through, or we can let Him take our hand and lead us.

My gut reaction is to do a lot of crawling. I want to make my lists and plans and course-correct so that I keep walking down the same path at the same speed reaching the intended destination without any bumps in the road. So it takes me a while to acknowledge the fog.

It takes me a while to surrender and give Him my hand. And when I do, it’s not that the skies instantly clear and I’m back on course travelling full speed ahead. But I remember who it was that created the course and gave me the vision and plotted my steps to begin with and I rest in the fact that my path is known even when all I see is fog.