Valley of Death
We’re all familiar with the lifestyle that the cowboy lives – even when it’s not out on the open range. The lifestyle isn’t where he is, it’s who he is. The cowboy can be horseback, in battle, or in the boardroom, but there is definitely something distinct about his innate character, his moral fiber, and his spirit.
From the moment I captured this image, this verse has been running through my mind: ‘Even when walking through the dark valley of death I will not be afraid, for you are close beside me, guarding, guiding all the way.’ ~ Psalm 23:4 (Living Bible). We’ve romanticized the image of the cowboy to a point that we’ve forgotten who they really are, what the y are made of from the depth of their soul, and what they really are capable of enduring, overcoming, and accomplishing.
There is a strength and fortitude in the character of a cowboy that can only have come from the darkness that he’s witnessed. They have risen out of the ashes of difficulty and adversity and moved forward with determination. They’re not immune to getting kicked, drug, or knocked down and sometimes they’ll stay right where they are for a short while, in that hole, nursing their wounds like a small child. But they’re not void of moments of clarity and happiness, and sooner or later, those moments turn into minutes and then into hours and then days and weeks.
Most men will use the challenges, road blocks, and bad choices they’ve made as a crutch, making themselves out to be a victim to the circumstances of their life. The cowboy will use those very same challenges to grow his faith, his passions, and his purpose. They’ve made sacrifices and suffered losses that most people will never understand and they’ll use that darkness to shine a light and make a difference in the lives of those who can’t quite find their way yet.
He’ll continue to grow into a man of character – one who stands up for who and what he believes, a protector, a guardian. While worn and sometimes ragged on the outside, he’ll use what’s happened to him to let his tender side – the caring, kind, compassionate one – show through. He’ll use his rugged hands to share a tender touch with a small child or an aging parent. His stern voice will tremble with gentle words for a lost soul, a wounded friend.
Never underestimate the strength or the courage of the cowboy. He was born for a purpose and divinely given the blessings and power to achieve it.
Michelle A. Farley
Lost on the Horizon Photography, (c) 2016