The Giving Fog

Like millions of other people, I sometimes go into a strange fog. I don’t want to give it a bigger name because that would assign too much power to it, so we’ll go with “fog.” It’s a blurred, debilitating state that can last for days, weeks, even months. It hurts my bones.

And I thank God for it.

I thank Him for the gifts it leaves after it lifts; gifts like compassion for others, empathy, and clarity. Somehow, my heart gets healthier while I’m “away.” I wish there was another way, but I’m thankful.

This morning, while reading about the death of a young mother who went to my high school, I felt an overwhelming sense of gratitude for life.  Not in a clichéd “live like you were dying” kind of way, but in a deeper sense. I never even knew this girl, but we had shared experiences. It feels like a loss. As I read people reminiscing about her, a tear rolled down my cheek, the fog became more distant, and I gave thanks.

Thanks for…

The next door neighbor kid I played matchbox cars with when I was six.
The friend I sat next to in middle school because he was all by himself.
The art teacher who told me I was worth more than I know.
Parents who did their best and became my heroes.
BMX bikes, baseball, and Christmas mornings.
Growing up in the 80’s when MTV was new and Michael Jackson moonwalked across the stage.
Ms. Pac Man, Huey Lewis cassette tapes, and Alf.
Living in Detroit by myself in college.
Jobs that paid nothing and taught me everything.
The ability to make people laugh.
The girls who led me to my beautiful wife.
And my daughters who showed me everything I thought I knew about love was a spec of sand on a beach.

I am blessed. You are blessed. We were chosen to live in this time, on this day. The fog will come, but that’s okay. As powerful as it is, it cannot compete with the healing powers of thankfulness. As dark as it can be, it retreats when light returns, and like the forest after a fire, new life emerges in its wake. The heart undergoes continuous and miraculous transformation.

Compassion grows.
Empathy expands.
And clarity is restored.