Valley of the Shadow of Death

(A post from the first days after putting Jonathan in the ground.)

Day 5

Psalms 23:4 Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me, your rod and your staff, they comfort me.

A spur of the moment trip yesterday afternoon to Coco Key Resort, produced a valuable image for Daniel and I to hold onto as we walk through the darkness of Jonathan’s death. Daniel is tall enough to ride the four big slides, and this summer his confidence in the water has skyrocketed. He and I tackled the first one on a two-seater inner tube. After that he was ready to tackle it alone and then moved onto the body slides.

But, he declared from the beginning, that he would not go on the two slides that did not let light in. I have to admit, I had no intention of going on those either. Later, I’m not even sure what prompted me to go on the dark body slide alone, but I did. Maybe I chose the tube because I am already walking through the darkest place imaginable. The slide was as dark as the inside of a cave cavern. I could not see the twists and turns and I didn’t know how long the ride would be, but I knew the light was at the end.

Just before leaving, Daniel grabbed the two-seater and declared that he wanted to ride the dark slide. As soon as we started down I could sense his fear. I declared that I was still beside him, and that the light would greet us at the end. When we exited the pool I told him that this how I feel with God right now. I don’t see him, but I hear his voice, and I’m trying to stand on the truth of his character. In the car the kids asked to listen to their Music Camp CD. One of the songs was “You Never Let Go”. As Daniel listened he exclaimed, “That is like the dark slide! I couldn’t see you, but I knew you were there. I know God is there, and that he won’t let go of me.”

Yes Daniel, and yes reader, God will never let go of you! Through whatever storm or dark place in this life you are going through. Our part is to know that he is here. For me, the only way to obtain that knowledge has been to read about his character in scripture, to pray, and to practice walking in faith. I can’t see where this devastating dark twist will lead, but I won’t turn back, because I know you are here.

Goals:
1. Let others help me today.
2. Work on my song.
3. Find a new copy of Barbra Johnson’s book. (Meet me at half-priced books anyone?)

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Being a Lamp in the Darkness

After reading a fellow poet’s haunting work I prepared a response to the darkness that lights her world, and once lit my own.

I have lived in darkness,

wrapped up in the blanket of its truth, smothered

hope and shut out liars

who offer to light my way with burnt

out candles of philosophy. I thought that I had insulated

myself from darkness by embracing its truth. Nothing begets nothing–

we’re all dead anyway.

Until

fear mastered my taste buds, and my

craving was bitterness.

 

I begged death to

swallow me whole and it did.

Soul crushing pain that I could

never quite medicate out of existence.

Death was my hope.

 

But there was a persistent, pesky light

that didn’t care if I trusted. The warmth of its glow stayed constant

when others faded away.  Like an inn at the end of a long

journey, it offered rest from

my aching confusion.

 

The lantern brought me from the woods

of my tangled shadows.

Secure in its source,

in its never changing nature

a humble truth never experienced in my boasting

darkness of doubt. It didn’t demand I believe, nor

did it exact the price of darkness. It paid in full every

debt I owed. This light didn’t scramble as I did,

to snuff out pain. It bore it. . . .willingly.

It hung in the darkness for me.

I have never experienced such light.

A state of being, rather than doing, a love

that pursues

Rather than playing hide-and-seek.

 

My soul caught fire as I warmed by the fire

of its glory,

I am a light to you in the darkness

Inviting warmth and freedom to the darkest souls.

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