Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Fog And Sunlight

(I wrote this a year ago last September on the last full day I was to spend with my dad before his passing. I didn't know how poignant this post would be--I will never forget that day. I post it now simply because I'm missing my dad . . . and I think you will benefit. -Ralph)

I took my father to one of his favorite places last Friday; Laguna Beach, CA.

Taking in the view when he first set up his command position overlooking the beach, my dad looked immediately alone and deep in thought. While I’ve never been in the military (my dad was in the Navy), it was as if my dad had returned to the scene of victorious battles waged and won decades ago. No bitterness, but strategies and memories and glory filling his mind.

He looked good.

After a lengthy pause, he assessed, “Boy, I’ve never seen it like this before.” Fog was fighting sunlight for position, confusion versus clarity. The struggle was waged all around us as the low-lying fog sent wispy arms advancing inland. Time and again it crept across tide pools and cliffs, breakers and beach, hiding them from view, only to retreat just a little. For a while it seemed that fog would win the day and altogether deny the beach to sunlight, but after an hour of wrestling, sunlight drove fog a couple of hundred yards out to sea. Unable to reach us, fog sulked and brooded for the rest of the day.

We felt immediately better.

What a picture of life, and we watched it all in a single afternoon.

My dad has been to this spot maybe a hundred times over the course of his life. He has great stories of swimming and sunning and fishing and partying galore. But I had to talk him into a return. It was as if the wonder of those escapades was from another life and not part of this one—as if revisiting them would be more painful than beneficial.

But he was revived. Revisiting the scene invigorated him because he discovered that what mattered was the breadth of his life, the whole film, not just the snapshots.

It helped me, too.

Sometimes it’s a good idea to revisit the joys and successes of your days, particularly the ones you’ve had with Jesus. The fog of this world will wrestle with the light in order to make you lose your memory and your bearings. That can make the right-now picture of your life carry far too much weight or importance, or so you’re induced to believe. After all, it’s foggy. But because God has made you in union with Him, you’ve nothing in common with darkness (Ephesians 5:8). And that’s why you’ll feel it when it creeps in upon you—you’ll feel miserable or hopeless or like the biggest failure in the world. It feels so wrong because it is!

Look to Jesus and remember what He has done for you: He bore all of God’s punishment for your sins as though they were His own; He forgave you completely; He gave you His righteousness and holiness; He gave you God the Holy Spirit; He made you part of His own family; He has given you everything you’ll ever need for life and godliness. And I’ll bet you can think of a few other things Jesus has done for you.

Look to Jesus and remember what He has done to you: He crucified your old self upon the cross and gave you a new self through the resurrection; He put you into Himself; He secured you and seated you in heaven; He made you recognizable throughout the heavens as a spot-on perfect son of God.

Feel better? Lighter? There’s more, but you get the idea.

Revisiting the big-deal things God has done for you and to you will drive the fog out and away from you because light always conquers dark.

For God, who said, "Let light shine out of darkness," made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ. (2 Cor 4:6)

Oh, yeah. We had a great time, and we caught some fish, too. Really. Just below and to the left is a picture of the 43lb salmon I caught.



  1. Eric Schmidt8:47 AM

    Poignant. Very well written, and I'm glad you had such a good relationship with your Dad. That is the most special.

  2. Debra Rupert8:48 AM

    Thank you for reminding me to look to Jesus when I too am missing my dad (been gone 10yrs as of yesterday). Today I really did feel like I was in a fog - It wasn't a great day, but you have made me rethink the events of today & focus on Jesus. Thank you Ralph! I didn't know your dad, but if he was like mine, He was very special (they were both in the Navy). Thanks for the "..sunlight"

  3. John Madden8:49 AM

    I had a discussion with God last night. "Why do I feel a stronger connection to my earthly father than I do to you?" He siad "Im glad you recognized this my son, Draw closer to me" Im glad God didn't remove my father from this earth before we had that conversation. He wouldnt do something like that to me to teach me to be dependent upon Him.Some people dont grow until the passing of there father. God has blessed me.We are growing! Thanks for your great story!

  4. Cheryl York Olmstead8:49 AM

    I love this Ralph-thanks for sharing. It's beautiful. A wonderful reminder that life is "not just the snapshots." I'm going to keep this one:)

  5. Sheila Parsons Vertoli8:50 AM

    How precious! So glad you had that time with your Dad. Thanks for sharing.

  6. Josh Bloodgood8:50 AM

    I really enjoyed reading this, thank you.
    I didn't know your dad was in the Navy, I bet he was full of great stories.

  7. Mari Jackson8:50 AM

    Thats a good memory....blessings.