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Saturday, July 24, 2021

    Lessons from the Fog

    Reverend Aleese Kenitzer
    Aleese Kenitzer serves as the pastor of Shepherd of the Cross Church in Muscatine.

    Muscatine Living

    It was a few weeks ago that I found myself sitting with journal and coffee in hand, looking out my living room window. The night before, rains had doused the area, but with temperatures already rising, the entire area was clouded in a dense fog. Typically, when looking out this window, my eyes would take in the whole of the picture, extending far into the corn fields surrounding me. But on this specific morning, all I could see was what was closest to me – namely, leaves on the tree. Focusing solely on those leaves, it’s like I could see every vein of the leaf, even from inside the house, and the green color of the leaf seemed to be even more vibrant than before. The veins, and the green-ness of the leaf, likely hadn’t changed since the last time I’d looked outside, but without all the other things behind it to distract me, it’s like I was seeing this leaf for the first time, and with new eyes.

    That morning, I could’ve been discouraged that I couldn’t see beyond what was only a few feet in front of me. But something about it seemed oddly appropriate. Often, in our lives and in the world around us, we have an inclination to take in the “full picture.” We want the full vision of everything around us, and we want to have a sense of what’s coming down the road, but there are also times in which we simply can’t see past the bright, green leaves right in front of us. Everything else is clouded.

    Now, such an outlook could drag us down. “How can we continue forward if we can’t see!?” we might begin to think. But in those moments, when we intentionally allow ourselves to look at what’s right in front of us – what is green, and healthy, and wholesome – it just may be that there we’ll notice something new. Whatever it is, perhaps that “something new” was really there all along, but now, with new vision, it’s something extra special.

    In so many different ways, there may be situations in our lives and in our world in which we don’t feel as though we can see the “full picture.” Fog covers us, and can cover that which we desire to see. Realizing this, we could get irritated that we can’t always see very far ahead. In fact, we might want to “will” that fog to go away, but that’s not going to do any good. Naturally, fog will lift. So too, the fog we might ourselves be surrounded by will eventually go away.

    So rather than becoming anxious, what would it be like to turn our eyes and notice what is right in front of us? Some days, our vision may be perfectly clear, while other days it might be clouded over. Either way, we trust that there is always, always, something to latch our gaze onto, and something to say “thank you” for.

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