Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Winter (the season) (08/13/09)
TITLE: Faith in the Fog
By Margaret Villanueva
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If fog were predicted for tonight, I would not have gone out. Even though I’ve lived here my whole life, I’ve never felt comfortable driving in fog. I try always to wait until the next day. But tonight was different. My church was having its annual Christmas concert, and I was so excited about going that I chose to believe the forecast of a clear evening. I felt sure that I had plenty of time to get home before the fog hit. Although it can creep in early in the evening or stay all day without ever dissipating, the fog usually doesn't come until late at night. So I went to the concert, thoroughly enjoyed myself, visited with friends after, and was on my way home with plenty of time to spare. Or so I thought.
When I began the 30-minute drive home, there was no sign of fog. Therefore, I was totally unprepared when just a few blocks away from the church a fog bank enveloped me. Visibility went from several miles to a few feet in a matter of seconds. My lights did very little to help me see. However, I couldn’t turn on the brights—they would actually reflect the fog and make it impossible to see. I reduced my speed to the point where I was crawling and began to pray.
As I drove, the neighborhood’s Christmas lights glimmered eerily through the mist. I couldn’t tell where I was or what I was to do. My prayers for safety turned to prayers for direction. “I have no idea where I am, Lord. How can I know that I’m even going the right way? Can I please just depend on you?” Nothing changed—the fog was as bad as ever and my vision hadn’t improved—but I felt a sense of peace. I was going to put my faith in the One whose birth I had celebrated this evening.
It seemed that I drove forever: slowly, carefully, listening for others coming my way. Suddenly I felt an uncontrollable urge to pull to the side. I remembered my friend and wondered if I was experiencing the same thing. “Lord, should I pull over? Let me know if this is nothing more than fear, or if this is your will.” The same sense of urgency persisted. I shrugged my shoulders and pulled over.
I hadn’t heard the car approaching. I hadn’t seen the headlights. I hadn’t a clue that there was someone on the other side of the road. But there was, and the car was out of control. It careened from its own lane to my lane and back again, its owner either drunk or desperately out of control. If I hadn’t pulled over….
As I continued the drive home, I gave thanks. The old carol rang in my head—silent night, holy night. On this most silent of nights, God’s mercy shone in my heart—even through the Tule fog.
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