“Hey Seth! How are things in sunny California?” Rich asked on the phone.
“Sunny California? We live in Mordor,” I answered, glumly looking out the window at a seemingly endless curtain of fog that hovered around our home in San Francisco.
To be fair, we don’t live in Mordor (the mythical kingdom of the evil Sauron from the Lord of the Rings), but our proximity to the ocean makes us the recipient of a lot of fog—like…a lot of fog. In fact, I sometimes feel like the amount of fog we get would dishearten even the most earnest Steven King fan. It’s very discouraging.
But! Instead of wallowing in self-pity, I decided to try to make the best of an otherwise gloomy situation. I mean, how many people get the chance to live in San Francisco right next to the ocean (besides the former inmates of Alcatraz)?
So I made a new goal. Every day, I go for a morning walk down to the beach and touch the ocean. The walk itself is rather tricky. There are times that I can hardly see more than three or four steps in front of me. But in time, as I continue to move forward, I can start to hear the ocean and smell the sea. If I continue to press through the heavy fog, I always make it to the ocean. And no matter what—rain or shine, fog or no fog—the ocean is always a beautiful sight.
As it is in our walking, so it is in life. We may occasionally find ourselves in dark, oppressive and gloomy situations. This situations may prompt us to close the windows and doors of our hearts and “stay indoors” or stay within ourselves, not daring to venture out into the cold, gloomy outside world. But if we create goals for ourselves and move forward—even if it’s just a step or two—we will discover tremendous blessings and fantastic vistas, even in the midst of gloomy circumstances.
I know a couple that is going through the process of adoption. While it was heartbreaking for them to learn that they could not have children, it presents a rather unique opportunity for them to bless the life of another—namely, the life of the soon-to-be adopted child. What we learn and experience in our difficulties often give us the ability to help others in their difficulties.
Joseph Addison once said that “Our real blessings often appear to us in the shapes of pains, losses and disappointments; but let us have patience and we shall soon see them in their proper figures.”
As I walked back from the ocean, the sun began to show through the fog—lightly at first, but then, almost in a moment of triumph, it burst through, turning the ocean to sparkle in a deep blue hue.
As we learn what the Creator would have us learn on our walking, He will cause the light to shine on our path.