With tears streaming down my cheeks as I coughed, wheezed and gasped for breath, I heard the Indian pastor in New Delhi, India say, “No, what you see isn’t pollution, it’s fog.” Had I been able to breathe well enough to articulate a word I would have contested his view, but I couldn’t hardly see him through the “fog” and was too busy leaning over in the seat hacking and sputtering. Later in the week I was in Amritsar, India and was basically told the same thing again…as I sat in a clinic trying to get some medicine to stop coughing the “fog.”
The truth seems to be found in what you get accustomed to. While searching for an iron lung to carry around India I found out that smog is actually two words in one – smoke and fog. The fog in an area gets filled with smoke and the smoke makes the fog too heavy to burn off when the sun gets bright and warm. When millions of trucks, cars, motorcycles and rickshaws belch copious amounts of smoke and pollutants in the air and then the fog rolls in and traps the smoke and then that happens days, weeks and months on end…then you have a country that rarely sees a blue sky…and people who cough a lot.
Fog is really a good thing because it creates a water vapor that keeps the crust on the ground from getting too hard. It’s the gentle way that God waters the earth. Nature brings in the cleansing fog, but people are mucking up the phenomenon with smoke, hence smoke + fog = smog. Some folks don’t know the difference between fog and smog and think this is normal, but my lungs are not accustomed to smog and it makes me sick.
I wonder if there are other things in my life that appear beneficial yet bring me harm? Things that look like fog but are laced with contaminants:
• Like a prayerless life due to a church activity crammed schedule. Smog.
• Or the lack of reading to expand my world and my mind, but I do find time to catch a little TV…smog.
• Or putting my wife so far back in my list of priorities I need a telescope to see her through the smog.
• Or eating potato chips at night when the fruit bowl on the counter has apples and bananas…smoggy decision.
If you think smog is fog then you might think that you are stronger than you really are. That’s what I thought. Cough…cough…cough.