True to your word,
you let me catch my breath
and send me in the right direction.
To be honest, the days were pretty rough, and they weren’t going to get easier any time soon. I really wondered if I should just quit making any effort at all.
Ever felt like that?
Then, a teen girl posted some words of encouragement–a quote from a book she had read by Robin Jones Gunn. It was referring to Psalm 23, “Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death”, and it spoke to how ‘walk’ is an action verb.
It was a defining moment for me. No matter what I was facing, no matter how big these problems seemed, I just had to keep walking. I couldn’t expect to get through it if I sat on the curb and sobbed.
(Okay, I did sit and wail a few times.)
The phrase kept echoing, “Just keep walking”. It was enough to make me stand up, and take a few more tentative steps. Each one made me a little stronger for the one after that. Two years ago, I was using canes to get around. Yesterday, my husband and I walked 13.36 kilometres. That’s 8.3 miles for my American friends. We did it one step at a time, no mobility aids required. When we compared notes about how hard that very same route had been even this past March, we knew every hard step was worth it for that one celebratory moment.
Lets face it. Life is brutal sometimes, and I’m betting you don’t need me to give you any examples of how.
Even when I walk
through the darkest valley,
I will not be afraid, for you are close beside me.
I wish I could share David’s confidence all the time. I live in fear far too often. I’m even recognizing it tonight, when I wait for news on how my friend is doing–which is kind of silly, since I know he’s shadowing death and he knows it too. But you know what? He’s not anxiously trying to escape his life. And he’s not standing passively by. He’s calmly walking with God.
I’m learning from him as he goes through this process. He’s at peace with this life, and he’s looking forward to the next. He hasn’t so much as a smidgen of doubt that God is right at his side, and by his wife’s too.
But what about me? I have defaulted to fear. It makes me want to hide behind sleep (though it eludes me), isolate myself and feel more than a little self-pity. Sure looks a lot like sitting on the curb blubbering, doesn’t it?
What I need to do instead is remember that walking through something requires me to move. What I’m going to do is reach up and take the hand reaching down to help me up. And if that hand happens to look and feel a lot like my best friend’s hand, then I’ll take it gladly. If it is matched by her face and her tears and her hug, well, I’ll take that too.
Because we have to keep walking. We just don’t have to do it by ourselves.