A Psalm of Wondering in the Valley

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Now, I wonder. I wonder about so much. It seems this is all my mind can do or accomplish. People say to stay busy - keep your mind occupied - get on a schedule - get out with people All these are well and good but they lack one important element: Heather is not part of any of these experiences.

Do not argue with me about her being with me in spirit! Why should that matter? She is not here with me in person! Heather, to me, was flesh and blood and her memory is what hurts! Her absence is what hurts. Being home, doing nothing, was doing something with her nearby. What I did without her was done knowing I could share every moment with her when she returned.

Here in spirit? Bah! Humbug! As Ebenezer Scrooge said often and loudly. It is a home and a life robbed of its heart here. We are on life support as we recover from our hearts removal.

I wonder...how long will this go on? Everyone is different as is every family. There is no way to know. I wonder...what will the relationships in our home look like? There are not just two children here, but two adult children - thrust into facing their own mortality. I wonder...what will be our next steps after this? I wonder...how far does the promise of Proverbs prevail when you “train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it (Proverbs 22:6), it they are robbed by their mother? I wonder...who do I become; this amputated human being, I now am? I am missing part of me.

Oh, do not give advice my friends for when you do, you miss the point of the questions. The questions merely ARE - there is no answer - none that you can give to me. There is no consolation just yet. There merely is wondering and wandering in the valley of suck. Nothing is as it was and what it will become has not yet been made known. So I wonder and wander.

I wonder, my God, who am I to understand you to be now? I wonder how does our arrangement continue? I wonder how will your grace present in my life? Oh, better still, how will you present grace into the lives of my son and daughter? I wonder (and worry too) if your grace is sufficient in their eyes or in their heart? You do know, my God, they hurt and they blame and they hold you to account for it? I wonder, my God, do you care? Will you answer them?

I know the pattern. I know that from grief, from the valley of suck, I will move from these wonderings but be a very different man. I wonder, my God, who will I become? What will he look like? How will he do life? But I wonder too, my God, How about them? People do not know the strains of being a pastor’s kid and now to this reality, a new one is added? Will you refine them? Will they let you? I wonder...I wonder if their hurts do not become my own? I wonder my God, if I can journey with the Psalmist:

1 How long, O Lord? Will you forget me forever?
How long will you hide your face from me?
2 How long must I take counsel in my soul
and have sorrow in my heart all the day?
How long shall my enemy be exalted over me?
3 Consider and answer me, O Lord my God;
light up my eyes, lest I sleep the sleep of death,
4 lest my enemy say, “I have prevailed over him,”
lest my foes rejoice because I am shaken.
5 But I have trusted in your steadfast love;
my heart shall rejoice in your salvation.
6 I will sing to the Lord,
because he has dealt bountifully with me. (Psalm 13:1-6)


I wonder, my God, is this how Cain felt? A marked man wandering the world? We suffer and we cause suffering. All this time and so little has changed inside us or with us. I wonder, is pain and suffering the only way to truly get our attention? Okay, nevermind, I do not wonder this - it is truth - a most excruciating truth.

“To live is to suffer, to survive is to find some meaning in the suffering,” observes Roberta Flack. I wonder why there remain so many snake-oil salesmen selling a lie? I wonder, my God, how after all this time, we still live and love life on the fringes of truth about You? I wonder, my God, why you let so many “sell” your blessings? Do you not care? Is this what living life as one of your prophets was like? Is this how Elijah felt? Isaiah? Hosea? Jonah?

My God, I wonder and wander because THIS is part of the journey through the valley of suck is it not? I wonder and wander because you redeem suffering in your own way and own timing. But is it wise for the younger ones, I wonder and worry. And I wait.

You will come by, my God, you must. Just as I did this day, two weeks removed from her death, I sought you in your temple, my God. As I wonder and wander in the valley of suck, I am waiting for you to come to me and Heather’s children. I will sing again. Will they? I wonder still. Deal graciously with them. Deal graciously will all who wonder and wander in grief and pain.

Deal bountifully with us not for what we’ve done but because we have waited - trusted - you, my God.



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