The Mountains and the Valleys

This will be a short post this week, Reader, not least because I’m not entirely sure what to say.  It has not been my favorite week—on Saturday, a friend of mine stopped fighting dementia and Parkinson’s and passed away.  On Monday, my one remaining grandfather stopped fighting pneumonia and kidney failure and also passed away.  On Tuesday, I had the first day of the book study for which I have so hopefully been preparing…only to have but one participant.  On Wednesday I sat with a woman who realizes that she is living only in biding time until death.  On Thursday I realized that one of my friendships will never be what I would like it to be and it would behoove me to start withdrawing from it slightly.

It has been a hard week.

It is easy to see the sorrowful Godlessness of a week like this, especially when I am reminded—lovingly, jokingly, but harshly—that this is life.  This is adulthood.  People I love will continue dying.  Friends I appreciate will continue changing, just as I will.  People have their own schedules that do not (and should not) answer to mine.  This is life.  This is adulthood.

Quite frankly, that sucks.

I’ve never wanted to be anything but grown up, and I still wouldn’t trade that even if I could, but this is rough.  Where is the comfort of God when all things and all people fall apart?

He is in the quieter moments.

Almost like the I Spy pictures from my childhood, I have seen God in and behind even this week.  He is in the way that my family can laugh over who my grandfather was and how, in a certain sense, he died in exactly the way he chose, which is how he lived.  God is in the moment when my friend realizes that something is wrong and reaches out to me, to let me know that this isn’t over.  God is in the dozens of Facebook messages I’ve had sharing my sorrow and offering sympathy, in the completely unexpected phone call from a friend specifically to make sure I was okay, in the fervor of that one person who came to my class and really wanted to be there.

God is in my choice to stay with that person for an hour to discuss the things that matter, because that time matters.  He is in the lives that my friend and my grandfather lived, as they were both men of great passion for social justice and change.  He is in what they taught me, and the life that I am choosing to live.

He is in the moment when I run farther than I have in weeks, and the moment when a sprinkler catches me by surprise, and the moment when the first cool breeze of the morning comes through my window.

This, Reader—amidst the grief and the sorrow, this is joy.  Not happiness, but joy, the deeper well of knowing that there are mountaintops after the valley, that my life is not done yet.  My service is not done, as evidenced by being asked to be a camp counselor soon, as evidenced by adding a Sunday school version of my study, as evidenced by asking questions always and truly wanting God to wrestle through the answers with me.  It has not been a good week, my dear Reader.  I hope mightily that yours has been better.

But I rest in the nascent trust that the whole world is not valleys, and I am thankful.


The Lord hath broken the staff of the wicked, the rod of the rulers, that struck the people in wrath with an incurable wound, that brought nations under in fury, that persecuted in a cruel manner.  The whole earth is quiet and still, it is glad and hath rejoiced.  (Isaiah 14:5-7, RHE)

4 thoughts on “The Mountains and the Valleys

  1. Crystal says:

    My world this week was made better because you are in it, dear one. Thank you for your strength, and laughter and hugs. Thank you for not hiding from the pain and sorrow, but rather for living in and through it, for not being afraid of my tears. Were it not for the back drop of sadness the full spectrum rainbow (literal, not figurative) that I saw yesterday on my long drive East would not have been so beautiful, a reminder of promises and hope contrasting the ugly week I drove away from. I love you.


    • Oh, my dear heart, for you there will always be hugs. And laughter. And a shoulder to cry on. For you there will always be love, and life, and wonder, because your strength inspires my own, your honesty spurs me to find mine, and you appreciate rainbows on long journeys. Be safe, lovely, as you start this new adventure. My prayers are definitely with you.


  2. Speaking of mountains and valleys, my family and I just got back from a trip to the Rocky Mountains and I am catching up. Thank you for sharing your joy (amidst pain) with us. This reminds me of what you said last fall/winter about snowfall as a metaphor for the joyful life: that joy is not the same as happiness and that a person can experience joy even in the cold death-grip of winter. It sounds like you’re doing that now. Me, too.


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