Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil.
Notes from the book: There is, the book says, an actual place called the Valley of the Shadow of Death in Israel. It stretches from Jerusalem to the Dead Sea and is a dangerous place for leading sheep. The Valley of the Shadow of Death is literally "the glen of doom" and can be many things, not just death.
Mother's notes: Lily of the Valley... Go through the valley to the mountain.
My notes:I know this area. I have seen it. Driven through it. Walked in it.
Lovely to behold. Dangerous, perhaps, to walk through.
The sheep are oblivious to the dangers, but the shepherd knows. The sheep think, "I have the shepherd; why should I worry?" while the shepherd trusts in his instincts...trusts in God.
The valley is not just death, Charles Allen wrote. But is there any valley deeper to walk through than death? Perhaps for the one passing over the valley to Heaven's Mountain, it is a place of peace and joy. A looking ahead to the moment of seeing God's face, to bask in the Presence of His glory, His magnificence. But for the one left behind or to be left behind...
It is an odd thing to watch someone die. To want the suffering to leave ("Death, come!") yet knowing that once it is over, it is done ("Death, stay away!").
I held Mother's hand. I watched it swell with fluid. I listened for days on end as machines pumped, as they breathed in and sighed. I held my own breath as she struggled with hers.
Rattling in the chest... danger on the mountain.
Suctioning meant struggle. Hers, physical. Mine, emotional.
Notes from the Book: I have said to many people in "the valley of the shadow of death" to get off by themselves in a quiet place. Quit struggling for a little while. Forget the many details. Stop your mind for a little while from hurrying on to the morrow and to the next year and beyond."
Mother's Notes: Sense peace.
Notes from the Book: Just stop. Become still and quiet.
Mother's Notes: Not easy.
My Notes: No, it's not...
But like the sheep wandering along the dangerous path, I am not alone. The Shepherd is with me. It is time, I think, to find moments of respite wherever and however I can find it. In the quiet places of my home, in the cafe of a bookstore, before the sparkling waters of a wide lake.
Find the Lily of the Valley, Eva... Stop long enough to drink in His beauty, to drink in His perfume.
"Be still and know that I am God" is just that.
It's being still.
Blessed assurance...Jesus is mine.