Sunday, August 24, 2014

Life in the Fog

I love taking pictures and I happen to take a lot of them. 

For those who know me, or those who follow me on social media, this statement would likely not come as a shocking one. (It might however serve to annoy those who might think I post too many photos! But I will not apologize for that one..)

This year I have been reading/working through a book called 'Eyes of the Heart', which looks at photography as a contemplative prayer practice. It has been transformational in my photography, the way I see and interact with the world around me, with my understanding of myself and in my relationship with God.

It has been a wonderful practice to receive images from God and to take time each week to spend time outside with my camera, prayerfully waiting for what God will speak to me through the photos I take. I am thankful that God is not limited to one way of communicating and that God will speak through things that we love that will connect us with God in a deeper way than we imagined possible.

It has taken me awhile to realize this one, but on a recent trip down the Oregon coast, it struck me that God has been giving me a lot of images with fog in them. I suppose that would mean I have been to some really beautiful places and there has been a lot of fog actually present. On a recent roadtrip in Quebec in May and also in some of my weekly photography times, fog has been a clear theme.

While driving in Oregon, we would be surrounded by beautiful blue sky and then we would turn on a road that would lead us to the ocean, and the closer we got, the foggier it became. At first I was a bit disappointed, because beautiful scenery is often accented by brilliant blue skies. But as I started taking pictures and playing with different settings on my camera, I realized that foggy scenes are just as beautiful in a completely different way.

Fog adds an element of mystery and wonder. You know there is something beautiful and majestic in sight, and yet you can only catch a glimpse of it. You can only see so far and as you walk further, new things become revealed as you enter the fog.

Fog is giving me a new way of seeing things.

All the same things are still there that would be present on a clear, sunny day, except I get something extra with the fog.

Sometimes with the fog comes dampness and wind. It can be exhilarating and serve as a reminder of being alive. 

And when light shines through fog it does wonderful things. It spreads out the sunlight in a different way and for me becomes a symbol of hope and life.

This past year, I feel like I have been living my life in the fog. Firstly I am shocked that I am still in this place and that I have no idea how long it will go on for or what lies just up ahead.

There is lack of clarity in the fog and lack of my own understanding of purpose. I catch glimpses of what is happening, but don't see it in full.

Yet it is still beautiful.

I can still trust.

There is great hope.

This past year I have seen life in a way that I had not before. I have tamed down and slowed down from my previously crazy life (although some might argue that it is still slightly crazy). The fog has forced me to slow down. It has given me opportunity to notice and enjoy things I would have previously missed.

This year has taken me down a path I would never have imagined for myself and I know that God will continue to guide me in new territories, even when I have no idea why it's happening or what's coming next. I will not let the fog spoil things, but will find new ways to interact with it and new ways to see it. For now I will embrace the beauty and marvel in God's presence in the midst of the fog.

Lighthouses are useful in fog and the combination of the lighthouse and fog has been of significant meaning to me of late. On the trip down the Oregon coast, we drove into a state park, excited to see the lighthouse. It was a beautiful day and about a kilometer away from the lighthouse, suddenly we entered a dense fog. The sun was setting behind the lighthouse but was such a symbol of hope and life to me in the midst of confusion and lack of understanding.

One of my favourite songs this year has been 'My Lighthouse' by Rend Collective.  I had heard it just before traveling to Oregon back in February. I didn't quite know all the words yet (then again, it is rare that I ever know the proper words to any song), but as I stood in the Pacific ocean in February, in the wind, rain and fog, I sang it to myself as I was trying to coax myself to jump into the frigid water.

I can jump into the cold water in the midst of the fog, trusting that God is my guide, my refuge and my lighthouse. I leave you with my favourite lighthouse picture and the lyrics to one of my favourite songs:

My Lighthouse - by Rend Collective

In my wrestling and in my doubts
In my failures You won't walk out
Your great love will lead me through
You are the peace in my troubled sea

In the silence, You won't let go
In my questions, Your truth will hold
Your great love will lead me through
You are the peace in my troubled sea

My Lighthouse, my lighthouse
Shining in the darkness, I will follow You
My Lighthouse, my Lighthouse
I will trust the promise,
You will carry me safe to shore 

I won't fear what tomorrow brings
With each morning I'll rise and sing
My God's love will lead me through
You are the peace in my troubled sea

Fire before us, You're the brightest
You will lead us through the storms