“Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death…”

These were the words spoken by a beloved Parkdale friend as we sat side-by-side on his hospital bed this week, both of our eyes dripping with tears.

These were the words I thought on my way to a funeral of another friend.

These were the words I recited again as I was told about and went to visit yet another Parkdale friend who is in critical condition.

I will never get used to the feeling of death drawing near or of its actual arrival. Though it sometimes takes time to sink in, the eventual reality of it is stark and FULL. What I long for is death to be put to death.

Granted, living in this broken world leaves some people eager for the relief that death will provide. Too many people seem to have the odds stacked against them from the very beginning. On Sunday our service was tangibly marked with the lament of people’s pain. A regular cry was, “Hell is here. I’m living it. Where is hope?” To say my heart was heavy is a blatant understatement.

Dwelling in the valley with my friends deepens my longing for the resurrection of life. I desperately want people who know primarily darkness at the hands of others and/or their own, to see life marked with light. I want the same for me, for all of us.

Through a veil of tears I finish the 23rd Psalm: “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You anoint my head with oil; My cup runs over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life; And I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

Goodness and mercy, please come.