I sat in a chair, legs crossed, surrounded by hundreds of others in chairs or standing against the walls. At some point we ran out of chairs but people keep on coming. We were all taking notes and listening as he read from Colossians.
We’ve been going through this book for months and maybe that would frustrate some, but I love it. Every day in Haiti I would sit on my bunk bed or at the long wooden table and read through the entire book. Each chapter holds special memories.
But we’re reaching the end of the letter and the entire message centered around these words:
Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity.
It was a good word and a good reminder for a new week. But then he started to say how we’re all only a mist, here for a little while and then gone, and so we must make the most of every opportunity given to us while we still can.
My mind stopped. I think I took a deep breath in and slowly let it out, but I can’t be certain. I just know I immediately felt the refrain that I’ve had looping around my mind for months:
What will you do in the midst of the mist of your life?
Months later I’m still rolling those words around, unsure of what exactly they mean or what I should be learning from them. Emily wrote recently about the spiritual discipline of learning nothing, and maybe that’s it. But they keep coming back and coming up – even though I’ve never mentioned it to anyone. So I think that maybe, just maybe, there’s something there.
Like the swirling gray over the grass in the early morning light, our lives are only a mist. The sun begins to rise and shine and the mist disappears. We’ve only got so much time and not one of us knows exactly how many years, months, weeks, days we have left. So what do we do with that time?
Those words began stringing together while I walked through the misty haze of darkness. There was no ‘right side up’ label pointing me in the direction I should go, I was simply walking one foot in front of the other in the midst of the mist. And so what do we do in those times?
The message was continuing and although it pertained to the end of Colossians, I scratched it down in a mix of cursive and scribbles.
We are but a mist, and so often it seems we live in a mist, but in the midst of our mist may we walk in wisdom and live in love.
If we’ve only got so much time left – and that’s the case, and if none of us knows just how much time it is – and that’s also true, then maybe what matters is not all that we do but all that we are. Could it be that it’s less about how well we can see through the blurry mist and more about how we keep on walking through?
Maybe it’s not about knowing the answers but trusting the Answer. Maybe it’s a lot less about seeing the light at the end of the tunnel than it is trusting the sun will rise and the Son is Light.
That doesn’t make it pretty or easy or convenient or microwave-fast in a world spinning mad, but it does bring hope.
May we walk in wisdom and live in love, making the most of every opportunity presented to us. Keeping our eyes upward and looking for the Light, may we continue to trust that He is good, He is present, and He will walk with us.