I had a Moment the other day. It was very chilly, and fog was blanketing every surface and curling around every tree, and I found myself on a familiar highway. It’s the road from Southern Pines to Cameron, one I travel very often. I know its gentle curves, I can recall the exact reach of the pine trees along it with my eyes closed and can drive it without even thinking much about it. But not that day. That day, fog narrowed my vision to what was immediately in front of me, and what was immediately behind me. If I looked too far backwards or too far forwards, all I saw was white mist. It felt almost claustrophobic, and strangely liberating.
How often we (and by ‘we’ I mean ‘me’) are focused on the past: its choices and mistakes, its connections and disconnections, its joys and sorrows. Equally often am I focused on the future: what will the face looking back at me in the mirror look like in 5, 10, 15 years? What days will run together doggedly, and which days will change my life forever? Who will I be then, if not who I am now?
It’s often said that Advent is a time of moving towards Christmas. We religious-types like using words like “journey” (see post title, ha), “sojourn” and “pilgrimage” to describe it. But that foggy, chilly morning, I was reminded that Advent is taking this moment just as it is. Stopping long enough to admit that what was behind lies in the mists of memory and what is ahead remains a foggy mystery. We do not know what it will look like when God comes again, birthed into this world through ecstasy and pain. All we know, all I know right now, is the highway. The foggy, misty, unclear highway, where I’m only allowed to see enough to make the next choice, the next turn, one that is hopefully something of faithfulness.
The past is passed. The future is holding its breath. We simply have now, this moment, this day, this highway. It is enough, for now. Where will it take us?