Droplets of water vapor suspended in the air near the ground

When I was in 7th grade, I cut across a field that was several acres in size to get to school. There was a subdivision there by the next year, but for that year it was a fence-less, open field that significantly shortened the walk to school.

It was foggy one morning. As I walked towards the school and the very thick fog blocked out all buildings so I had no frame of reference and couldn’t be sure which way I was going, it wasn’t long before I was uncertain if I was really going straight or if I’d wandered from the direction I needed to go.

I didn’t have a small target I needed to hit to get to school; the large, empty field bordered the large, grassy sports field behind the school, so I could be off by quite a ways and be fine. But I still got quite anxious as time in the dense whiteness seemed to stretch too long and I was sure I’d been walking far longer and was just going in circles, never to find the school until the fog cleared. And then I hit the school grass and all was well again.

Too often, it seems, I find myself stumbling through a fog, uncertain if I am taking my life where it is meant to be or simply to a good place. Since I’m single, my job and location of living decisions don’t affect a spouse or family, so the choices I make are all up to me. This is good and likely simplifies a lot of things – I’m not complaining – but it also means I have no one else’s opinion and perspective to point out positives and negatives of a choice I may not be seeing. It also means I travel this life alone, and sometimes that is just downright scary.

And so I wander through the fog of mortality, making a bit of a left turn here and touch of a right turn there, praying that I’m going ultimately in the direction that will be best for me, that will get me to my goals here on earth and in the eternities. Sometimes I hit a grassy field that confirms I’ve been going in the right direction – things work out well and feel right. Sometimes it seems I’m in the fog far longer than I expected and I start to worry and second-guess myself and wonder if what I thought were impressions of the Spirit guiding me were really my own misguided hopes. Most of the time, I just keep going and pray harder when the fog seems particularly thick, and sometimes I hang on to the hands of friendship from family and friends when they might see a bit further than me or when they’ve walked through that particular field before.

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About Tanya Spackman

Tanya was born in Provo, Utah, on a warm July day. After escaping childhood with nothing more than a few scrapes and bruises (except for 5 stitches - oh, and that incident with the staple in the thumb), she graduated from BYU with a degree in molecular biology. Before graduation, she served a mission in Chicago. As graduation neared, she decided lab work really wasn't her thing, and she had no interest in research or teaching (but really, molecular biology is interesting), so she decided to attempt the world of technical writing. Thus, she now works as a technical writer/editor for the Navy in Washington, DC. She loves to read and travel.

8 thoughts on “Droplets of water vapor suspended in the air near the ground

  1. Hi, Tanya –

    Thanks for this post. You describe a feeling universal to all of us – single or married, male or female, Christian or non-Christian – the feeling of being unmoored, lost and confused, but holding onto the hope that, despite the fog obscuring our journey, we do know the way home, and that soon the fog will lift to reveal our final destination in front of us. Tanya, I wish you the best, and I have full confidence that you know where you’re going, and that you’ll wind up somewhere really great.

  2. Tanya, everybody’s experiences are different, but I think we all know what it means to be lost in a fog at different times in our lives. I find that as long as I follow the plan of happiness — which for me means keeping the commandments, treating my wife like the precious treasure she is, praying twice a day, reading the scriptures once a day and doing my best in my Church callings — the fog tends to lift and I see things very clearly. But then I fall down in one aspect or another, and the fog descends again.

  3. Yup. I’m remembering a quote a friend told me, something like God wants us to be righteous in the dark. I think Brigham Young said it.

  4. Sometimes it can be easier to take that leap of faith off a cliff if you can’t see how far down the cliff goes.

    Except my mind makes it WAY a long way down, so maybe not . . .


    A word that works for me to sum this up is feeling untethered.

    That iron rod through the fog in Lehi’s dream, is really helpful, even when fog-bound, but so often I am untethered.

    I’m not necessarily talking about being untethered spiritually, though, although knowing what to do and where to go with it, is not a simple black and white decision, and, in fact, many all-or-nothing thinkings are harmful for me. But, feeling emotionally, and even worse at times, mentally, untethered, really sucks.

    I hate that feeling. Floundering around with my faith, I am used to. Well, in some senses not, because my faith in the Lord is a knowledge in every part of my being.

    But two weeks ago, upon hearing that my husband had lost his job, well, lost his job at the contracted client, well, that precipitated a huge crisis inside, as well as I felt like a mooring line that tethered me had been snapped.

    I HAVE to believe that the Lord can turn everything to our good, and trust that. I have to, or I cannot continue in the face of not knowing how we are even going to BE.

    But beyond that . . . and even mixed in with it, is just a fog of flailing around, and trying to latch on to SOMETHING. Hoping I am headed the right way, and hoping that I’m not just burying my head in the sand and being stupid about it.

  5. Tanya

    Its interesting how phsical things often represent spiritual circumstances. I know many times I get angry with my daughter for something she is doing only to hear a little voice reminding me that I’m working on similar spiritual issues.

    Numerous times I’ve asked her to do something or more importantly to stop doing something and she doesn’t seem to hear. I don’t know if she is ignoring or being willful or just can’t hear because she is concentrating on something else. Gradually I will raise my voice until I’m often shouting for her to stop or whatever the case may be. Then I will hear that reminder that there have been many times I have not heard the voice of the Lord telling me to do something, to help someone or again more importantly to stop doing something and I don’t always listen or obey.

    These physical experiences help clarify our spiritual circumstances in a way we might not otherwise understand. I only hope I can be better with my daughter and much better at listening and obeying the Lord. I hope you and the others here can be better at realizing that the fog will clear and so long as you do your best, try and be humble or teachable, you will find the grassy field sooner or later that confirms you were on the right track all along.

  6. 23 And it came to pass that there arose a mist of darkness; yea, even an exceedingly great mist of darkness, insomuch that they who had commenced in the path did lose their way, that they wandered off and were lost.
    24 And it came to pass that I beheld others pressing forward, and they came forth and caught hold of the end of the rod of iron; and they did press forward through the mist of darkness, clinging to the rod of iron, even until they did come forth and partake of the fruit of the tree.

    Yeah, it’s dead obvious, but somebody’s got to say it.

  7. What is important to remember that the saints of the past suffered and were alone. You and I shall suffer many things, however you have marked it correctly-He will lead you and guide you.

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