Shadows of Death

Through the window, plum colored fire washed across a cotton ball sky. Crystal wind chimes hanging in the window caught the sunset and scattered it in broken fragments around the kitchen. But night was winning. In a moment every shade would be gray. Darkness smothered the light from even the kitchen chandelier. I stood at the counter and leafed through her planner for the last time. That little black book, with its threadbare leather and rumpled pages, was her life. All her most precious memories flowed in gentle cursive; our first date twenty three years ago; the day her dad died; the day her precious little bird flew away; the day I asked her to marry me.

A thousand memories bombarded me; remnants of her vibrant, beautiful life. Each, a razor tipped arrow running me through, taking away pieces until there wasn’t enough of me left to even be me. Is a person alive if who they are is gone? Moving forward requires life. For me, forward was a helpless plunge into dark, hopeless, nothingness.

David’s words from Psalm 23 echoed in my mind: Yea though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death…

My soul was raw to the world. Simply existing hurt. I used to wake with a smile. Since she died, mornings arrived with bile in my throat and a thousand hornets churning in my chest.

I will fear no evil…

For months I grappled with anxiety. For the first time I became acquainted with the nameless fear that haunts so many other people. David must have had it too. After all, he wrote the 23rd psalm. How did he not fear? God, how do I not fear?

My mind snapped to David’s use of the word “will.” I WILL fear no evil. Will is a choice. The command not to fear is given more than 365 times in the bible. For the first time, I noticed those words in the bible weren’t just recommendations – they’re commands.

God, how do I not fear? I looked at the next line.

Thou art with me…

A door burst open in my mind. Fear isn’t real. It’s ALWAYS about something that hasn’t happened and may never happen. They’re fantasies. Once I create them, I have the choice to live in my fantasy world or live in the real one.

The real one is where the most powerful being in the universe is beside me. He turns the world around my decisions and circumstances so that even when everything goes completely wrong, it still ends up completely right. Sometimes I forget he’s there and get scared. But it’s not long before a whisper, from the same God that protected King David, fills my mind, “I will never leave you or forsake you.” Life is still a roller coaster ride, but now I get to lift my hands and scream — “woo hoo.”

Fear and faith both demand you believe in something you cannot see. You choose. ~Bob Proctor