Life in a Fog

Last weekend, our little sliver of Georgia was covered in a blanket of snow. Fat flakes began falling in the morning and we soon had enough of an accumulation to enjoy a wet snowball fight. It never got deep enough for sledding or a snowman, and wasn’t really a driving hazard (although when you live in the south, even the threat of snow can be a driving hazard.)

It was dark when I woke up the next morning. The temperature was already beginning to climb and I knew our snow wouldn’t last. The strangest thing happened as the sun peeked through the trees in my yard – a morning fog hovered in the air and combined with the snow, it was a scene both eerie and breathtaking.

fog

Fog has an odd way of interacting with light. Some fog is dense enough to be illuminated by the light that passes through its gaps. Fog and mist droplets can alter the wave nature of light so that it is not simply reflected at the surface, it is scattered or diffracted in all directions and distorts our view of that which it covers. Fog itself can be beautiful.

When we drive in fog, we have to use caution with our lights. The temptation is the turn on our high beams and throw as much light as possible into the fog to break through it. But often, the light we hope will push through the fog only bounces back into our own eyes, leaving us blind.

I’ve been in what I can best describe as a fog. Today marks five years since I last held Kylie… last heard her voice, last told her I loved her. I stood in the cold as her empty shell left my house and watched as the exhalation of my breath made fog on that dark night.

My grief has ebbed and flowed as these things do. The first couple years were great burdens that weighed down my life. I learned many things in that time, mostly that we have very little control over this life. We are subject to the fancy of a God who directs things without our consent. And while I believe that he is working things together for good – it is not necessarily an earthly good. The good result may not be evident until I walk through the gates to the waiting arms of my girl.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m a happy bloke. I experience joy, laughter, and love daily. I have much in my life that I do not deserve, more friends than I should have, and a family that I’ll never be worthy of. I am a blessed man. But often, the light of these wonderful blessings is altered, refracted, and (at times) repulsed by the fog in which I wander.

The fog is maddeningly inconsistent. I do not know in the morning if it will be dense or thin, or even appear at all. It rolls in suddenly and at times with no warning. There are moments when it is so thick I can’t see to the right or left and must shut down until it dissipates. Life in a fog can be suffocating.

But if choosing to be without this life in a fog meant I would have lost those 12 years with Kylie, I would choose the fog. I’d rather live in an unpredictable haze than have been without her. So I’ll not complain.

I will continue to search for light through the fog and revel in its warmth when it penetrates through. I’ll not curse the God with whom she now resides, for he was the same God that gave me her light for a time.

And oh, that day! That day when the fog will be lifted forever by the light of her smile. That, friends, will be a clear day.

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The Inequality of Two Values

Math is a concept often lost on me. Complex equations make me appear exactly like a doltish cartoon character being taken advantage of by Bugs Bunny. I scratch my head, hold my tongue just right, and still the product does not come. Math is hard (or for my British friends, maths are hard.)

One concept which is simple enough for me to grasp is the equality or inequality of two values. Less than, equal to, or greater than. This came into play for me last week as I considered two numbers.

4007 is not equal to 28,773

28,773 is greater than 4007

4007 is less than 28,773

In the United States, the average life expectancy is 28,721 days. Being a consummate rules follower and an incredibly kind person, my mother didn’t want to take more than her fair share and only reached for an extra 52. After a very difficult battle with Alzheimer’s, she went home to heaven last week. She will be missed.

70534515_1293489244108797_8627793689332154368_nI take great consolation in the thought that a small figure was waiting impatiently behind Jesus. In fact, I can even see her pushing to get around him. As the littlest sister, there was always someone in front, someone bigger, someone to wait your turn for. And I’m sure Jesus appreciates such impatient love that yearns to be expressed.

Mom’s obituary hauntingly stated, “she was preceded in death by her granddaughter.”

Kylie lived a total of 4007 days. Math tells me 4007 is less than 28,773. The larger number is expected. The lower number is tragic. And while I’m sad about losing her, mom lived a wonderful life. She had two children and nine grandchildren who adored her, she served others tirelessly, and she traveled the world with her husband of 56 years. Before Alzheimer’s ravaged her mind, she would agree that 4007 days isn’t enough.

But amongst that diminutive number of days, some were some very good.

The day Kylie arrived was a good day that would have been better if I’d have gotten to the hospital in time for my lovely wife to get an epidural.

All Girls

Early on there were grand days of discovery – walking, singing, dancing, reading, and a love of learning that fueled her.

Days a cast list came out, snuggly mornings that led to lazy afternoons, dog days, beach days, Disney days, cat days, school field trips, good grades, visits with friends, sister days, daddy dates, sweet days with mommy, hibachi (or as she called it, hispachi), the great Labor Day cat capture, building days, silly days, smiley days, the day she found Jesus…

 

In fact, the good days by far outweighed the bad. There simply weren’t enough.

There were 321 days of cancer. Maybe it’s because the worst of those days were so bad that by comparison, some of those days feel really good. Or possibly it is because they were the last ones.

 

And now we’ve been 1664 long days without her.

Why this infatuation with days? Because we are seeking to redeem the number. On Kylie’s final day she told us to cure childhood cancer. It happens to be Childhood Cancer Awareness Month and we’re trying to raise $4007 through CURE to fight the beast that took her life. Will you take a day or two?

Maybe you could skip Starbucks today and take $4 days. Or skip Friday night’s adventure and take $25. Consider it an opportunity to add days to the life of a child!

Here is a link to Kylie’s page.

Please take a minute to read her story and pick a few days to redeem. Together, we can make sure children get their fair share of days.