Where is the road?
About a month ago, I woke up incredibly early to drive a couple of hundred miles on a road I traveled often and knew so well that I could usually anticipate each curve through its rolling hills. But this trip was different. I had never experienced this road in a dense fog like the one settling over it that morning.
As I drove, the fog grew thicker until it enveloped my car and made me feel like I was driving in the middle of a cotton ball. I could only see the 20 feet or so that my headlights could illuminate. As I slowed to a more reasonable speed in the name of safety -- a difficult act for a notorious speed demon like myself -- I realized how disorienting the dense fog had become. No matter my speed, I felt like I was at a standstill. The only indication that I was in motion was on my speedometer, and I had to steer by the white line on the right side of the road.
As I slowly navigated through the fog, a strange feeling of utter isolation and despair came over me. I felt like the rest of the world had slipped away, leaving only me and the fog. It's hard to explain, but I truly felt alone. Following the white line, I continued to drive with no concept of where I was along my route. How long would this last? Would I ever escape? Where was the road taking me?
After 45 minutes of driving, I never saw another driver either behind or in front of me. Nobody passed in the opposite direction. When I finally came out on the other side, the feelings of loneliness melted away with the fog.
I think back to that drive and compare it to how many feel in the "new normal." We are uncertain, lonely, lost, and sometimes afraid. We had our lives planned out, and we enjoyed the certainty of knowing what lied ahead. We took for granted that we could see where we were going. Our hopes for what we would accomplish in the year 2020 were grand. Now, everything has changed; we are in a haze and wonder what is next.
Unlike the fog, I cannot guarantee that all will be as it once was when we come out on the other side of COVID. But as long as we are in this haze, find your white line. What is it that has been guiding you in these uncertain times? Is it family, faith, or some other commitment to yourself and others? For me, it's my family and friends. I continue to hold them tight and know that, at some point, we will emerge.
If you have not already done so, find your white line. If you know your white line, keep driving slow and steady until you reach the other side.