On a normal day, I wake up to look out over the trees of Dempsey Hill, the Botanical Gardens, and the tropical rainforest around the 3 water reservoirs in the center of Singapore. Occasionally there is a low hanging midst in the trees that add a twist to the scene. The dominant colors are green with pale blue skies and wisps of white.
For the past week, especially the last two days, my view has been a yellow-gray fog. The smoke that has enclosed the city is thick, permeating one clothes and hair. The pollution index is well into the hazardous range. The feeling that this is a time of an apocalypse is hard to shake. From an initial light haze, the intensity of the pollution now dominates ones thinking, decisions, and view.
As I begin a new day in the smoky haze, I find it hard to remember the blue sky, even though my mind tells me it was here a few days ago. Even the images in my mind are hazy. It seems as those I was looking at an unending vista; “The next time I looked there was nothing – a punctured bladder, vapid and limp.” (Psalm 37.36) It was all ugly smoke, the inside of something gone wrong.
Life reminds me that as bad as things are, the bad will not last forever. Blue skies will return. Brightness and hope are here, even if they are blocked for a time.
In the interim, one should be smart. Take precautions when venturing outside. Act wisely. The hazard conditions are dangerous. Sickness, difficulties, and long-term problems are all possibilities.
Circumstance may change the specifics of how we respond to opportunities, however, this does not mean that we have lost our freedom. We are called to live. Living is doing the stuff – see, learning, responding to those around us.
What we see will shape our response. Our view is never an excuse for not taking a decision. The freedom is make a difference, to engage and support those we can touch is always with us.