Years ago when I was in college, I attended a forensics tournament as part of a public speaking class. On the drive back to my dorm (my brother insists they’re called “residence halls” – yeah, whatever), I hit a patch of fog so bad I could barely see past the front of the car. I had to inch along that back road until I could see my way clear to get home.

Often we find ourselves in situations in life where we can’t see the way out. Maybe it’s a financial worry (seems like I worry about finances all the time!) or an illness or an issue with a child.

I think all of us are always in the middle of some kind of fog or other. Some are like the one I drove in that time and others are more minor, like those Claritin ads right before they peel the soft focus off. We think we’re seeing pretty clearly but later we realize that things were a little smudged.

The problem with fog is that we often don’t realize that there is light outside of it. We moan and despair because it seems like there’s no way out and life will be like this forever. And we can look at other people and we can’t see the fog they’re in and we fall deeper into despair, raging against the unfairness of life. Or maybe even God. Why are we in this situation when no one else seems to be? What did we do to deserve this?

Not getting into the whole we’re-all-sinners-and-deserve-worse-than-this scenario, we need to remember tha we can’t see the fog around others and they often can’t see the fog around us.

In early May I got the chance to spend a lot of time with my brother and his wife. My brother is eight years younger than I am but we’re very close, emotionally, if not in distance, and when we’re together, it isn’t unusual for us to go off, just the two of us, and talk for hours.

During this last visit, we talked about how we both feel like we’re always in a financial bind. He said he looks at his friends at church and sees them being able to afford vacations and other little luxuries that he can’t. I know how he feels.

The Girl just graduated from what must be the “rich kids’ Catholic school.” ALL of her friends that just graduated, too, are going on “Senior Trips.” Two of her friends are, right now, on a cruise to Alaska!!!

Her senior trip consisted of us driving to New Orleans to see a place that makes and stores Mardi Gras floats and props. Tomorrow she starts her summer job at Chick-fil-a.

We just don’t have the money to send her on a trip or get her a car. We just don’t.

My brother said he talked to his pastor (he’s not Catholic) about this and the man told him that many of parishioners envy my brother and his wife for their strong marriage.

We just don’t know the fog other people are in and they see us outside of our fogs.

The good thing to remember is that God is outside the fog AND inside the fog. He knows how we feel and how we’re hurting or struggling or angry or frustrated, but he also knows what’s outside the fog waiting for us. He even knows WHY we’re in this fog at this time.

The Boy will be repeating kindergarten because he has some maturity issues and just isn’t ready for the regimented life that is first grade. I mean, these kids change classes and have to know what folders to take to each class. I’m lucky if the Boy knows where both of his shoes are every day!

He also has some ADHD issues that I’m learning ways to deal with, and I’ll be homeschooling him this summer in his reading and math so he’ll be ready to take on a second year of kindergarten.

This probably doesn’t sound like a thick fog to you and it probably isn’t, but to me, it feels a little like a failure on my part. Maybe I wasn’t strict enough with him or maybe I could have done more to prevent his behavior issues when he was in pre-school.

You have an image of what you expect life to be and I never expected any of my kids to repeat a grade. I know it’s only kindergarten and as he just turned 6, it’s for the best, but like when I had my C-section, there’s a little grief as I never saw myself as that person. I never thought of myself as someone who would have a crisis pregnancy and have to have an emergency C-section and I never saw myself as the mother of a child who had to repeat a grade.

Did you see how many times I referred to myself in that last paragraph? Like this whole thing is about me???

Maybe that’s what this fog is about – getting me to not focus so much on ME and to focus more on HIM (both God and the Boy!).