“Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for You are with me.”
Nancy and I spent several hours over the weekend staring at the road. From inside a car. We realized that we spend a lot of time together in a car staring at the road.
It goes back to when we started our married life by driving twelve-hundred miles from Wheaton to Austin a couple days after our wedding. Nancy was moving to join me six months into my doctoral studies at UT-Austin. We drive and we talk and half of us naps a little and we see hawks and we listen.
This year has included a lot of road time. We visited friends in Colorado. We went to the upper peninsula of Michigan, we went grocery shopping.
We also went to four family funerals, we said goodbye a few times for perhaps the last time. While we were sitting at a stop light one time, our car was totaled.
We have driven in the valley of the shadow of death. And so have our family and friends who have attended some of those same farewells, those same road trips of tears. And so, perhaps, have you.
That psalm at the beginning, about the valley. We hear it at funerals and memorial services often. And there is the risk that we will associate it only with funerals, only with final moments. But I think that it’s more true upon reflection than in the moment of crisis. Or maybe more helpful.
In reflection, we are aware of what we didn’t see, couldn’t see in the adrenaline rush of last breaths, in the numbness of immediate loss. We often are not aware in the moment of who is in the room.
But later some of us sometimes realize that we’re not alone on the road.