Wednesday, 20 April 2011

The valley of consolation ...

This evening on the eve of Maundy Thursday I have made a surprise discovery.
There is a place not very far from where we live up in the Jura mountains in the Franc-comtois called the "val de consolation" or the valley of consolation. Up in the Jura there are many strange and extremely beautiful geological formations and wonders but this is not one we have visited so far.
I try hard not to write too much on my blog about the total despair I sometimes feel, my inner pain, its complete pointlessness and uncommunicability. Silence is sometimes the only option. Yet in my own version of the dark night of the soul, I have been offered much solace, support and humour. The promise too that there is a way forwards, somehow - though at the worst I have sometimes felt as if the present was no longer attached to a future. I have been fortunate that my laughter has never completely left me - perhaps the most frightening time was when I began to take myself far too seriously. If you are British and this happens to you then you know that things are pretty bad!
Psalm 23 talks about the valley of the shadow of death but by pure chance this evening I dscovered the existence of the valley of consolation. So wonderful. Just knowing that people could be so inspired as to give a glorious green wooded valley such a wonderful name lifts my spirits. And the fact that it is not far away from where I live speaks to me too. See, something green and abundant and beautiful is already there - you just need to find it and it may be closer than you realise. Perhaps this all sounds too easy and rather too much like Chicken Soup for the Soul. Our need for consolation may indeed be insatiable, but that consolation may sometimes just be a google click away!
Christ risen from the dead promises the Spirit to his followers and friends, the comforter, the one who begins the work of consolation ...