The Valley of Ba’ka by Sue McGovern
Ecclesiastes chapter 3 says, “To everything there is a season, and a time for every purpose under the heaven: a time to be born and a time to die…” This passage provides a deep sense of comfort for Sue McGovern, author of The Valley of Ba’ka. The story is one of strength: of seemingly unending mercy, forgiveness, and resilience. The Valley of Ba’ka is a Spiritual/Christian book, in which McGovern details a horrific period of her life: the murder of her husband, at the hand of her son, while her brother is dying of cancer. The book follows McGovern’s journey from the day before her husband’s murder throughout the criminal trial and into the days afterward. Throughout it all, McGovern maintains her faith in God. That faith—which claims that there is a season and at time for everything—allows her to forgive her son, to be there for him during his drug rehabilitation and mental health issues. Her journey is not easy by far, but McGovern finds strength in her faith, her family, and her writing of The Valley of Ba’ka.
“Isn’t it strange the trivialities we remember in moments of great turmoil?” McGovern poignantly asks in the opening chapters of the book. This moment is one of the clearest in the book. McGovern’s strength lies in her candor: she speaks freely of what happened, how she dealt with it, and how she felt the entire way. While the writing may not captivate, it is a smooth enough read. The material is dark, but McGovern writes with a grace and a kindness that permeates the book. She cites countless Bible verses as well as Spiritual hymns, and her depth of spiritual knowledge is very apparent. The author believes that God sets certain people aside in times of hardship to help others. Perhaps, The Valley of Ba’ka is His way of setting her aside. Perhaps it is her way of setting herself aside.