Conversations about wounds and grace and a brisk summer breeze bring to mind a time several years ago when a summer breeze opened my eyes to grace. It was a few months after the death of my husband and the initial shock that had cushioned my emotions was beginning to fade, but what might have been grief, felt more like confusion and despair.  My mind was muddled and unable to think and my heart was dull and weary.  A friend had dropped by to visit  and we were sitting on my front porch silently watching the prairie grass in front of the house sway in the wind, when she remarked, “The wind doesn’t blow as much at your house as it does at mine.” 

The statement seemed absurd since we only lived 10 miles apart and on the plains of the Texas Panhandle, 10 miles would not make much difference as far as the wind was concerned.  However, although the plains are known for being flat, the land does ebb and flow slightly and where my house sits there is a gentle rise in all directions.  She went on to explain, “I think it is because you sit down just a little in a hollow and it protects you from the wind.”

I thought about the hollow my life was in- or rather what seemed to be a deep canyon and my anger and despair at having to walk through such a place.  I suddenly realized that the tall sides that engulfed me had also shielded me from the everyday cares and trite trials of life.  Almost unnoticed, many of the things that would typically caused me to fret and worry, had been taken care of either by friends or circumstance – bills were paid, the yard and garden was watered by rain, children pulled double duty without complaint, brothers and brother-in-laws helped with equipment and hay, and in it all and through it all, I had been carried by grace- like the footprints in the sand that I had read so many times.  I understood; the valley was a sheltered place where I was carried by grace.

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff they comfort me. ~ Psalm 23:4