A week ago today, I started my day by getting dressed for an afternoon memorial service. The service was for the husband of an acquaintance and, although I have talked with her many times, I had never met her husband. As I walked to the bus stop, I heard a familiar echo in my head: “…walk through the valley of the shadow of death…”
It did, indeed, feel like I was walking in that valley. It’s not that I was emotionally connected to the deceased, but it felt like a solemn, sacred walk. The journey was calm and thoughtful, not driven by lament. And death’s shadow did not cast a pall on the day’s beauty, the way it can.
It was like standing in the shadow of an mighty mountain, awed with respect and reverence, but chilled to the bone by the damp air–not a place where one lingers. I felt a visceral understanding of death and the power of an ancient phrase offering comfort to those experiencing it. It was an oddly, unexpectedly holy moment.