See. verb. To percieve with the eyes; to view; to visualize.
It’s early when I leave the house. The sky has tired of hoisting the clouds high, and they hang between trees and over highways. They hold the sun’s waking light and my dim headlight beams captive. Slowly, I drive through the fog. I can’t see what’s ahead, machine or deer or intersection. I see only gray light over gray road. I am a speck in the center, between where I came from and where I am going.
I remain in-between now, slinking into a foggy new year.
I’ve left behind the cozy, familiar light of last semester. It was a sweet time, balanced between beloved people and hard-but-good work. Then the lasts began to fall heavy as December stretched on: last movie night with my roommate, the one who’s graduated now. Last time my boyfriend, who will soon be long-distance, will swing by after his night class. Last drive to a placement without the title student teacher. The light of memory glows, but it softens by the hour. It will slip further out of reach when I drive back onto campus, towing clean laundry and fresh challenges. I can’t go back.
But I don’t know what lies ahead.
The year spreads before me, a grid of unfilled minutes and days. I can scrawl some events across the white space: a spring break trip, a friend’s wedding, a start of student teaching, a graduation. In theory, I’m moving toward elusive adulthood, things like apartments and big-girl jobs and morning commutes. But from what I see, the minutes are mostly blank. I can’t imagine what they hold. I have no vision, no phrase, no grand resolutions for this year. How can I plan for something I know so little about?
I’m stuck, fearing what I cannot see. I imagine the worst.
I peer into the mist, trying to read it like the swirls in a fortune teller’s ball. I don’t know what will jump at me from the cloudy corners. Will I drift away from those I hold dear? Will motivation find me for my final semester of classes? Will student teaching be a success? Worry of hidden, phantom monsters grips me. I wonder if failure and loneliness and pain lurk just out of sight.
I know my faith should buoy me. After all, Jesus said something about the blessed who believe without seeing. But I don’t think he was talking about my limping faith, the kind that hopes for billboards pointing the neon-lighted way to happiness and holiness. I’d rather be Thomas and skip the extra bite of blessing. I want proof, physical evidence of Jesus walking with me.
Ye of little faith, indeed.
I grasp towards clarity and control, believing that if I can see, I can make right. If only I knew the problems and emotions and dangers I would fight, I could prepare. I would wield lists and resolutions and problem-solving plans.
In my striving, I forget that I control and can fix little. I cannot slow time, snatch precious moments and cup them in my palms until readiness to move on blooms. I do not dictate the weather or my friends’ time or much of anything. Even if I could see what lies ahead, I could do little to affect it.
I also forget that not known does not mean not good.
This year, like all years, will be a mixed bag of hard and good. It holds hugs and dirty dishes and yawns and good books. The alarm will go off too early. I will run, feel my blood pump and mood surge. I will spill things. Loneliness will bite on long afternoons filled with homework. Trees will sprout leaves in the spring. Beauty and goodness hide in the shadows, mixing with heartache to form a real life.
I do not know exactly what this year in that life will hold. It will be foggy the entire way, though I try to wave away the mist and peer further ahead. But I hear echoes, ringing from above. They whisper that it will be okay. And though I can’t see, I choose to believe.