Sunday, September 11, 2011

Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death.

Today, a beautiful man spoke. He was maybe in his early seventies. He was beautiful because you could tell he loves his wife. You could tell he'd loved his wife from the day he met her or a few days or months after he met her. I don't know how to explain how I know this about him, but mainly it was because you can't hide that kind of love. It changes you. Once you notice it for the first time, you can't help but notice other people who are similarly marked by their own gorgeous emotions for other people.

Anyways, he talked about the 23rd psalm. He said he had to memorize and recite it when he was little because he didn't know how to read. He talked about how that psalm followed him around his whole life.
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.
He talked about how he didn't even know what it meant when he was little. It was just words. Then when he was in his late 20's and in law school, one of his friends asked to give assist him in blessing his wife before she went into labor. His friend ended the blessing with that psalm. The man speaking said that he didn't have it formulated yet at the time, but he didn't think that verse was just about facing physical death. 

He said he was 50 before he realized the valley of the shadow of death was this life. This mortal experience where we live every day in the shadow of the possibility of spiritual death and permanent separation from God.

I like what he said. The possibility of living life without any fear because Christ is with us all the time. The man speaking said the rod and the staff would be things like the gospel and scriptures. I think this is true.

Then I was very grateful for the people that have walked along with me during this life so far (who have been representatives of Christ). We've had a good time. They have been very fearless. And very good.

I think sometimes that we had no idea what we were getting ourselves into when we decided in heaven that agency was more important than forcing everyone to be good & happy. We could never imagine all the kinds of challenges we'd face. All the sorts and varieties of devastation. I think we were prepared spiritually. There were angels who told us: it will hurt just for a little bit. But we couldn't imagine what it would be like to feel sad in a physical body.  What it would feel like to miss someone in our physical muscles. What it would feel like to be lonely. To feel abandoned. Or to feel denial and rejection with neurons and physical cells.

But. I don't think we had any idea either how it would feel to love someone—in all its different and varied manifestations: parents, brothers, sisters, friends, animals, husband, wife, boyfriend, girlfriend, the guy who lives in a different city who you will never see again, the teacher who spends her lunch break giving you ideas, the grocery store clerk who asks you about your day, your neighbor across the street, the blind woman you saw gardening in front of her house one time, your cousin who flies planes and sometimes picks his dad up and carries through hallways too skinny for his wheelchair, the little kid who sits in front of you during sacrament and sometimes stares at you for a second, your friend's dad who makes you eat beets from his garden, her mom who makes you take home peaches in your pocket.
It feels like heaven.

Also, this is how pretty it was tonight right before it got dark. 


  1. i just wanted to cry and cry and cry as i read this. i'm so happy.

  2. I need to bookmark this one. It's like you know my life.


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