Through the Valley

October 14, 2015

Tossed off a cliff into the abyss.  Shattered in a million pieces.  The pit of despair tugging you down like quicksand.  No light, only darkness.

Surrounded by pitch-black darkness and stripped down to nothing, the journey begins blind and broken.  Barely breathing.  Grief growls like a grizzly bear in your ear.  Fear howls like wind blowing through a wind tunnel – merciless and unrelenting.  Your entire being crushed and questioning whether it’s possible to even get up let alone move forward.  Some days only bring the strength to curl up in fetal position, shiver, and fight off the feelings of doubt that you’ll ever walk again.

In this place hopelessness starts to take over.

A friend of mine who lost a child said, “Grieving is the hardest work you’ll ever do”.  But nothing could have prepared me for this — walking through the valley of the shadow of death.

“Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil.  For you are with me…”  Psalm 23:4

I thought this verse was meant to comfort the sick in the hospital as they prepared for their journey to heaven.  Now I understand its profound meaning for those left behind.

Those left behind must journey through the valley.  You can’t go around it or airlift over it.  You have to walk through it.  And the walk through is the most bone-chilling, lonely, lifeless place I’ve ever experienced.

It’s a place I never want to go back.

Yet numerous times each year, I’m tossed back down into the valley like a ragdoll.  Sometimes I see it coming (like today which would have been Jenson’s 7th birthday).  Other days, it happens unexpectedly like in the car drop off lane at Sydney’s school as I’m reminded of a conversation years ago with Jenson about how he’ll get to go to school and be dropped off too.

Today I sit again at the bottom of the valley knowing the only way out is to get up and begin the journey out.  My soul is overwhelmed with depression and a desperate longing to see my boy and wrap him in my arms.  Yet I take comfort in knowing he is wrapped in the arms of everlasting love.

For all those journeying along this long and lonely road too, take heart.  The journey feels never-ending, but there will be light again.  You are not alone.  God is with us even when we can’t see Him.  Step forward in faith.  Refuse to let darkness and fear consume your soul.

“Valleys also have signposts.  All along the way God provides winks of reassurance for you to see.  Just like on the darkest interstate, a signpost every once in a while is a welcome message of reassurance – a reminder that you’re on track, to keep going.”  – Squire Rushnell

Today my signpost is a beautiful orange monarch butterfly circling our backyard as I sit outside writing this blog post. Its beautiful orange and black wings playfully glide through the air.  It’s my sign to get up and continue the journey even though today it would be easier to wrap myself in a cocoon and never emerge.

Walk through the valley trusting there is light on the other side.

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Categories: Grief Light
Tags: grief, light, valley,

One Response to “Through the Valley”

  1. Rebecca Armerding says:

    The three of you and all who loved Jenson have been in my prayers today, but especially you three. Wishing you grace and peace, Rebecca

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