As I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,

darkness is trailing me and tracing my steps

I look to my right:

videos of brutalized black bodies, tales of innocent lives taken,

death attacking my eyes

daggers of legacy and systems, shackles from hierarchies & history,

darkness dancing before my eyes

I look to my left:

international extremity parading as religious mission

marches across the horizon,

bombs exploding, bodies broken, terror soaring,

hearts cracked in two

I try to run forward, hoping for escape,

but despair grips my ankles,

anguish quickens my breath,

unknowns paralyze my thoughts

something like the wind whispers in my ear:

“don’t look down Brionna,

don’t look for answers in the darkness below,

don’t look around Brionna,

don’t look for solace in the darkness that surrounds,

look up towards the light Brionna,

there is safety and life in that distant glow”

 

As I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,

drifting like an alien in a strange land,

I float because I am carried

I am comforted

I am restored

I am not afraid

 

there may be no church in the wild

but to be carried in the arms of the Lord

through every vine,

past every predator,

is worth more than any choir robe or pew

My soul plunges with pain,

But I must rise,

I must get up,

I must continue on

 

As I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,

I know there must be life beyond this valley

Brionna Atkins ’16 is a Former Design Editor and alumna of The Harvard Ichthus.

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