I have certain habits when driving in the deep fog that we occasionally have in our corner of the world. I remember watching my parents drive in the fog and occasionally getting commentary from them about what they were doing. I have also negotiated California’s central valley a fair amount over the years and experienced the dense, nearly impenetrable nature of the fog there at night.
When I navigate in the fog I first slow down carefully, not panicking because I have entered an unexpected cloud, but slowing to a safer pace. I turn off the bright lights that create glare by bouncing off the fog back into my line of sight. And then I look for a big truck to follow. These big rigs place the driver at a higher point and give them a better line of sight. They often are the first to know if someone is breaking or the fog is getting worse. They allow me to react sooner and take advantage of their better point of view.
If you think of all the foggy situations in our lives, it seems that these practices have some merit. Consider some incidents with me; You are awakened by a loud noise in the night that jars you out of bed with a mix of confusion, fear and anxiousness. All your faculties are trying to come to alert at once, how should you proceed? Hard as it maybe you should slow down, calm down, avoid turning on the lights immediately and gather the information at hand. You know the other scenario by experience, jumping out of bed and moving too quickly results in tripping and falling or bang vulnerable toes or knees on things, flipping on the light too soon adds night blindness to your problem at the time when you need to be clear about what’s happening.
Being startled by something is not the only time you find yourself recovering from unexpected fog, and bumps in the night aren’t the only things that call for this approach. A sudden change at work even a promotion has a foggy period, puberty either yours or your child’s, financial trouble, an accident, an illness, or a number of other things can disrupt your patterns and fog up the road ahead.
When it happens, not if it happens, slow down. There is a tendency to think that everything in a crisis time requires an immediate response. That is not true it requires an adequate reasonable response. Reason takes a moment and, in the end, will produce a better outcome. Flipping on all the lights is similar to the need that we have to grasp information and “shine a light on the problem”. You do need light in a moment like this, but you don’t need informational glare. The flood of information that just pours in from a source like the internet. You need enlightenment, the controlled application of the information at hand and then the additional information that is pertinent.
Last when we are in a fog, we need perspective. We need to consider if there is a better view of the problem out there. Does someone have a better view than I have? Is there a place that I need to move to in order to see things more clearly? Ask those navigating this event, or those with experience in like situations what they see.
For me my spiritual life offers some real help in these foggy moments. Literally when I enter a fog, I am prone to the habit of prayer. Not out of fear necessarily but out of the practiced awareness of its help. Prayer slows me down, gives me proportional light, and helps me find a different perspective.
Foggy moments will come, they always do, how well we negotiate them may depend on having a plan. This is mine, I hope it is helpful.