In an uncanny way, that became real for me this morning, as one of the books that I had set aside while reading, which is typical given my normal habit of 2-3 titles at a time, when picked back up, the bookmark was in the middle of the very chapter I needed to read!
If you have been reading this recent series of posts, you might recall mention of "The Lord Is My Shepherd" by Rabbi Harold Kushner. I had begun the read by recommendation from my wife, then was distracted by a couple other books, so I had laid it aside.
Yesterday morning had I picked up a couple of unfinished books and Kushner's was one. I had stopped mid-chapter eight: "Though I Walk Through the Valley of the Shadow of Death." The last sentence upon my completion of the chapter read, "Let God take you by the hand as He did for them
and lead you through the valley of darkness." His reference was to stories shared earlier of those who had walked through betrayal, bereavement, crippling injuries, somehow finding strength to go on.
My immediate thought was the privilege of walking with the Christ of God through the very valley of the shadow of death versus an unexpected and immediate death. Sounds a little chilling either way, yet we all will depart life in one fashion or the other. I prefer the valley of the shadow, though that may sound morbid.
The shadow, if advantaged rather than dreaded or feared becomes a place of privilege, offering valuable insights and perspective. I find myself in just such a moment, almost rejoicing when I think of my life's calling..."One day you will preach the gospel!"
I was only nine when called, and now at 75 having journeyed with so many, having been offered more traditional, institutional, even clerical opportunities, none seemed a fit for this wanderer. This may be my moment!
Can life only be understood in the shadow, in eerie contrast with everything that my journey with capitalism has promised, and delivered? Now all meaningless, in an Ecclesiastes kind of way, apart from practical and deeply spiritual insights soon gained, when religion is no longer sufficient and wealth inadequate, though my family has been blessed by it.
Not sure how this is sounding, but I have in fact prepared my family with a reality and an assurance of the "shadows" fit per my calling. We plan to walk through this, and yes, even out of it with God's grace!
My heart is almost racing as I write, given what I will learn and hopefully download in this process.
I envision future Cabin Talks, even a journey akin to "Tuesdays With Morrie" perhaps in-store, maybe in the form of podcasts, if I can get this aging face to cooperate with the smile that folk seem to enjoy!
Yes, now is the "one day" the Lord spoke of, when as a child I sat down to rest beside a Privette hedge on Tech Blvd. during play with my good friend, now also aged, Greg Carlyle.
This moment, just as some books, has for decades awaited me! As well perhaps, the "do this remembrance of me" that I heard during my Maundy Thursday vision!