Yesterday morning, I sat in church and looked out into the fog surrounding the little white clapboard building. The mist was grey-white and dense as wool. I thought of what I’ve been learning about reaching out to people in need, and I realized that often we let a fog settle over our vision. We don’t want to see the need. It’s too much. It’s overwhelming. So we hide it in mist and, as long as we don’t know, maybe we won’t have to think about it.
But when God works in our hearts–watch out. If you reach out just once, if you feel the joy of touching a life that God puts in your path, beware! It is addicting, revealing, humbling, and awe-inspiring. It is heart-breaking and incredible.
I am convinced that our Father made us to touch one another and be His tools in patching up broken souls. Yesterday, the November fog reminded me of that, birthing this poem.
Like the fog I allow to fall in my eyes, shades the colors of the world,
Hides the Browned and Bitter fallen, shrouds the bare branches cold-robbed of clothes.
I cannot see.
The mist of suspended belief, hiding in earth-clouds the season’s Truth.
And I plunge into it unseeing, happily ignorant of a world groaning, growing old.
I will not see.
But did you ever see
A November fog melt in autumnal glare?
Yellow-gold spear tear the curtain from
Sky to soil, and Glory lay the earth bare?
Did you ever, finally, see?
Watch leaves blaze with joy, tremble hope, blush agony, drop grief?
And were you ever brought to knees
By beauty and pain untouched, unloved?
A Painter sparkled the blushing, beaming trees,
And spangled hearts with life.
And every fall He sings the woods to sleep,
Tucking them tight into mossy nests and snow-satin sheets.
And He took on a heart to feel Himself the pain of hearts,
Found, bought, loved this very heart of mine,
But still I lose my way in November fog,
Forgetting to see the hearts, the trees.
November fog clears–my sight with it–
And how can I regret the revealing Light?
The blaze lights the way, reveals deep places I never imagined,
Intensities of colors, colors of shade, shades of hearts.
Autumn sun and I both finally wake to the stark-laid need of the vivid world,
The way the summer is curling up into rest,
The way hearts are curling up into self,
Waiting for the fog to part and some warm light to finally see them and love them.
Now, I think I see the colors of the leaves.
“We know and, to some extent realise, the love of God for us because Christ expressed it in laying down his life for us. We must in turn express our love by laying down our lives for those who are our brothers. But as for the well-to-do man who sees his brothers in want but shuts his eyes—and his heart—how could anyone believe that the love of God lives in him? My children, let us not love merely in theory or in words—let us love in sincerity and in practice!”
– 1 John 3:16-18, Phillips paraphrase –