It’s foggy in our area this morning. Earlier, the news reported that the “frozen fog” weather phenomenon is dangerous because not only can people not see clearly, the light film of moisture can freeze in different places and cause dangerous conditions for people both walking and driving. So there were multiple fender benders on my way to work and a couple of folks that had spun into the median and a ditch. Not what the day’s plans held for any of them, and hopefully no one was seriously hurt, but any such sudden incident has leftover consequences to mental and emotional and physical states that can surprise us, I think.
Much to Buddy’s chagrin, the holder of the leash decided our usual walk was not advised until later in the day, if we can both clear our schedules. His life, as you see below, is quite stressful at times *snort* and mine gets a bit complex depending on the day and hour. Those disruptions to our routine, while not as traumatic as a spin out or fender bender, often bring an uneasiness or low-grade anxiety that can color the day and how we move through it.
Maybe it’s that kind of week – a little bit of fogginess that feels intermittently dangerous and unclear. A change in how things have been, which causes some uneasiness and anxiety in how we move into the future. A reminder of what a unique gift it is to live in a place where there is a clear structure and foundation for the peaceful transfer of power, a gift we must not take for granted. It’s humbling to realize how deeply those who went before us thought about what it would mean to live in a Republic and how the checks and balances of power might, with both strength and fragility, hold a people together in such a way that we could live into a future with both potential and hope.
The events we will see in short order this week in many ways define who we are. Not only will we witness a quadrennial inauguration of the next leader of our Republic, we will witness and experience the freedoms and responsibilities that come from being an integral part of this nation. We have and will continue to hear both voices of protest and voices of support for this next Presidential chapter in our history. We will see the freedom to gather/assemble – peacefully, I pray – across the nation. We will hear the freedom of speech and the freedom of the press as persons make their perspectives known and the vast number of media outlets cover the activities with varying degrees of objectivity and selection. We will be reminded of the importance of the freedom to vote and that the voices of the people in our local, state, and national elections make a difference in the kind of future we want to build.
We have witnessed, most especially in the past week, the work that has been done in race relations and the work that continues to be done in those relationships moving forward. There are ongoing confirmation hearings for the next national leaders of education, health, the military, budget and finance, the environment and a host of other arenas. My hope is that we pay attention to those appointments and confirmations in ways that allow us to be aware of the direction these leaders hope to take and shape our future.
I think sometimes it feels easier to stay in the fog and to simply trust that others will mark out the direction that is best. But there are vital points of interest we miss if we accept that clarity and transparency are not valuable expectations. I can make out our steeple this morning, but it’s a little more difficult to see the cross on top of the steeple. Hmmmm… Life without the cross might be easier; it certainly would have been for Jesus. And yet Jesus’ willingness to face into that which required faithfulness and integrity to the peace he preached and taught ended his life on this earth, but did not defeat his spirit, his truth, or his promise that death does not have the last word. The clarity and transparency of his vision, message, and on the ground work make it vital for us to seek out a way of life that, while perhaps not the easiest, calls us to know and take responsibility for the peace and courage to live together for the common good as well.
The fog is lifting with the hours passing as I watch out my window. Bud will let me know when I get home that I no longer have an excuse not to grab his leash and take him on our daily constitutional. The cats on the other hand (me and mini-me) will observe from a perch above and away from the action. Partially because they don’t particularly want the messiness of the outside world, and partially because neither one of them is in any way accepting of the limitations of a harness and leash.
I’ve come to believe I need both in my world – the perspective of those who sit at a distance and offer pertinent and coherent observations of what is occurring from a larger vantage point; as well as the perspective of those in the middle of the fray, pushing and pulling and gathering and moving and speaking and listening and challenging and daring to change and grow in the midst of the messiness of direct engagement. Perhaps I not only need both; I am also invited and challenged to be both in different chapters of my own journey of faith and life.
However we make our way through this week, whether with anxiety and unease, or hope and high expectation, or probably a bit of all of that and more, we are each called to recognize our place and responsibility, our value and voice in the life of this grand Republic, and more importantly, our life as followers of Jesus, whose words and ways and work welcomed all into God’s vision for peace, justice, and the common good.