The death of a loved one is like a storm in a valley. The thunder and lightning and rain seem to proclaim that everything that we hold most dear has been lost. Our vision is obscured by tears and our body is wracked with pain. We cannot see which way to go, but somehow we know that we must continue on the journey of life.
And so, day by day, we trudge on, barely able to see the path and never able to see our ultimate destination. But we trust that somehow the path leads upward, out of this Valley of Despair. The path takes unexpected twists and turns, even detours, which sometimes take us back into the stormy valley and out again. We continue on because we must. Slowly the path takes us a wee bit above the storm.
For the first time we can now look down upon the storm raging in the valley. Our tears and pain have lessened. But we know we are not out of the storm yet, for the path may unexpectedly lead us back down into the valley. But we continue on, for days, months and years. The twists and turns become fewer and the detours disappear. The path becomes more distinct. One day we reach the top of the mountain. The storm still rages in the valley far below. Indeed, the storm will continue for the rest of our lives.
At the top of the mountain we have a new perspective. We are more distant from the Valley of Despair. We can see other valleys to visit and other mountains to climb. And the sun is now shining.
Hugh T. Hodges, 2008