My mom was a great one for quoting poetry to her children as we were growing up. Poems such as "The House on The Side of The Road" and "Li'l Orphant Annie" were the standards. She may not have quoted the whole poem, but certain catch phrases would pepper her comments about things and frequent "lectures" on life.
I was reminded of her penchant for doing this recently. I seem to be going through a particularly challenging set of circumstances lately. Friends are struggling, family or near family members are ill, and I'm now hobbling around with a weird looking shoe thing because of a fracture on my foot. And I thought of that line, "It's in the valleys I grow." I do not remember the whole poem, but it seems a particularly apt phrase for things right now. I know I am not alone in my frame of mind. And there are others who are equally or even more challenged than I. And I promise you, this is NOT a contest! But when things seem to be going wrong, I try to remember to lift my eyes to the lip of the valley I'm struggling with and remember that someone is walking beside me in my turmoil. I know that God is with me. Does this mean I don't feel challenged or sad? Nope. Does this mean that I won't get discouraged or even angry at my situation? Definitely not! But it does mean that there is a shoulder to lean on, a place to go where I am listened to, encouraged and uplifted if only for a short while. And while I might forget the presence of the Almighty in my weeping and wailing, I will always have the physical presence of the family of Christ in St. Marks. For they are surely the Savior come down for me and all who enter the doors. I have more support within the walls of the sanctuary than I could ever have imagined.
So even though I'm in the valley, I know the uphill climb is coming and there are those with whom I can lean on and talk to. And I have a God who listens and understands and comforts in the dark of the night, when all else seems light-less. And I hope I remember what it was like to be in the valley when I am up at the top and see them struggling down in their troubles. And I hope I can be the support they need, because after all, we are the feet and hands of our Almighty God! And hopefully I've grown in this valley enough for those still within.