The Valley of Echoes

The Valley of Echoes

Mant travelers pass through a certain narrow valley with high cliffs on either side. This valley repeats the sounds which are made in it. It is said that even a whisper is re-echoed. So it might well be called Echo Valley. Every person traveling through this valley hears the echo of his own voice. A shout, a song, a whistle, the crash of a falling tree, the rumble of a sliding rock, is repeated as the echo comes from the stone walls of the valley.

One day two hunters pitched their tent in this valley. As they drove the stakes into the ground, one of them accidentally hit the other's thumb. This gave him great pain and in a loud, angry voice he shouted, "Curse you!" His angry shout disturbed the quiet valley and from the walls came the echo in just as ' angry a tone, saying, "Curse you!"

Through this valley came an old bearded man making his way over and around the boulders. He was in search of gold, over one shoulder he carried a pick-axe, and in his hand he had a shovel. He was a miser, hoarding gold. He lived all alone in a small shack in the next valley, and having no one to whom to talk he talked to himself. That day looking at the rocks in search of gold, he said to himself over and over again, "I want gold; I want gold." And in the valley could be heard the echo, "I want gold, I want gold."

A man who was running away from everything, from his family and friends, decided to live all alone in this valley. He believed that his friends had treated him cruelly, that he had been cheated and wronged by everyone. He was filled with anger and hate. The first night in the valley the deep quietness got on his nerves. He could not sleep. He thought only of all the people he hated. He got up and shouted into the darkness, "I hate you!" And through the stillness of the night came the echo, "I hate you!"

An artist had heard about the beauty of this valley. He came a long distance in order to spend a few days here to paint pictures. He could not find words to express the beauty he beheld. He said that such beauty could not be expressed in words but only in a picture such as he intended to paint. Looking at the gorgeous colors of the sunset on his first day in the valley, tears of joy came to his eyes, his heart beat faster and warmer, and in his great happiness he said, "I love this beautiful world, the God who made it, and the people who are in it." And from the walls of the valley came the echo repeating, "I love this beautiful world, the God who made it, and the people who are in it."

This valley is like the world in which we live. The h,unter who said, ''Curse you!" heard the echo calling back to him, "Curse you!" If we curse others, they in turn will curse us. The Bible says, "With what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again," which means that we are paid back in kind, or as we sometimes say, "We get a dose of our own medicine." Furthermore, the Bible says, "Curse not!"

The old man who said, "I want gold," heard the echo say the same thing. In that way also the valley is like this world. One says, "I want money, I want gold," and others answer, "I want money." So people scramble for money, and in their haste forget about the better things of life. The Bible tells us that the love of money causes much trouble.

Look at the man who shouted, "I hate you!" The valley shouted back, "I hate you!" That is the way it is in life. If we hate others, they will hate us. God tells us very definitely in the Bible that we are not to hate anyone.

The artist saw the beauty in that valley. He loved God, other people, and this world in which God had put him. He cried out, "I love you," and the valley cried back, "I love you." Life is like that. If we say, "I love you," others will say to us, "I love you." If we look angrily at others, they will look the same way at us. If we smile, others will smile back. Jesus said, "Thou shalt love the Lord, Thy God, and thy neighbor as thyself."

Everything we do and say in life has an echo. If we are evil-thinking, selfish, and hating persons, the echo of that badness comes back to us. If we are kind, generous and loving, the echo of that goodness comes back to us.

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