A couple of years ago while traveling in scenic Austria, I got down from the car and sat by the side of a mountain besides a flowing brook. It was restful and peaceful and I was nearly lulled to sleep by the sound of the water. In a while I lowered my feet into the passing stream.
It was a beautiful feeling, and then I looked up at the towering mountains knowing, we would be climbing them after I got back into the car. Suddenly I looked down to where the same mountains ended and found the foothills dark and forbidding, sinister and chilling. Maybe it was the shadows that caused that feeling but it was a strange experience to be in the middle of the two scenes. One so majestic and the other terrifying.
But even as I saw these two scenes, the words of Psalm 23, flashed across my mind, “He maketh me lie down in green pastures, he leadeth me besides the still waters!”
And then the next verse, “Yea though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death I will fear no evil, for Thou art with me!”
Our lives also bring us to such places – where we can either journey into the depths of despair and depression or rise to incredible heights – depending on the direction we decide to head. Though if you think deeply, the mountaintop may not be where anyone would want to reside, either!
In a letter to a suicidal person, an agony aunt shared some exquisite wisdom:
“Dear Sheila,” she wrote, “I know all too well the battle you are engaged in. You see, I spent many years in the deep, dark valleys of mental illness. Most people want to be on the mountaintop. I don’t. I have climbed mountains up to 17,000 feet. Not a pleasant place to be. Bitterly cold, roaring winds, nothing grows there. Just snow, ice and rocks. Very uncomfortable. Even the view is dismal, for all one can see is clouds.”
“I have also been in the deep, dark depths where the walls are so steep that nothing grows; there is complete darkness and one is all alone. It’s a terrifying place to be in. But what I do enjoy is being in the valley with the green pastures and where the streams are gentle and calm.”
It is true that few of us seem to stay in that peaceful valley for too long. But, as someone aptly said, “The truly happy person is one who can enjoy the scenery wherever he is, who can look at his present situation and know it is just a small trek from home, that’s all!”
Treks are only little excursions and soon you will get back into the peaceful green valley you love, led back by the Great Shepherd..!
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