When I was little, I imagined that the valley of the shadow of death (in Psalm 23) to be like walking along a cliff edge in the pitch dark being blown by a strong, freezing wind. I would imagine hearing dogs running at me and monsters making sounds in the dark.
Now, when I think about it, it seems like the valley of the shadow of death would be more like a cramped isolated box made hot by my body heat. In this society, we do not face much persecution and when we are despairing and desolate it is usually because we are wrapped up in ourselves and our own agenda. When we aren't seeking God's face, that's when things really start to go wrong. We lose track of how and why and it all goes wrong.
One thing I love about Jesus is his steadiness. Even when I go through the valley of the shadow of death, he remains the same. I wobble blindly and feel trapped in my own tiny world, but he waits, he seeks, he comes and rescues me and brings me out into his beautiful openness. Oh Jesus, I love you.