A couple of weeks ago I was in rehab, the first outing after my husband’s death.
The house just opened again after the lockdown the day I arrived.
Although I had been away on my own before, this time it was completely different.
Usually when I went away, I talked to my husband in the evening, now there was no one to call.
After the treatments there was a lot of time to go for walks in beautiful flat country and generally trails were well marked. On one of those walks I came to a crossing with no signs and I was lost, nobody to ask either.
It struck me that up to then I had relied on my husband’s sense of direction and he had been a reliable navigator, in more than one sense.
The mobile didn’t help as I didn’t have a GPS signal in the woods. No landmark to direct me, only trees.
My sense of direction has never been very good. When traveling in the US, somebody once told me, after I asked for directions: “Just go two blocks east and then turn north for three blocks, it is easy.” Little did the friendly person know that I wasn’t used to this kind of information. In Europe, we go left or right!
Who is there to navigate me now and in the future? Map, compass? A question not only for this walk but for life as it is laid before me now.
Could Psalm 23 be a guide for the future without my husband? A psalm which I have known from childhood on.
“The Lord is my shepherd” – I suppose everyone has a picture of a shepherd and we imagine him/her standing with a staff watching over the flock. It looks idyllic, but even here in our area where we see shepherds and flock, we can see that there is more to it than meets the eye.
The dangers of today are not wild animals (even if we have wolves moved in!), but roads with a lot of traffic.
The psalm knows all this when it continues to state:
“.. Even when I walk through a dark valley I fear no harm for you are at my side; your rod and staff give me courage.
You set a table before me as my enemies watch; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. “
The shepherd doesn’t promise a quiet, riskless life. The promise is “I’m there” and there will be time to celebrate in spite of enemies, dark and deep valleys.
In the end there is the promise of a place “in the house of the Lord” – a promise I try to hold on to in spite of dark valleys and moments.
Ps 23 was precious for my husband we are united in his legacy.
By the way I made it to dinner from my hike that day. The lesson is learned: Be sure not to rely on GPS in the woods, use a map!
Annerose Schlaudraff, OblSB