A reflection on the drive home after an Almost Heaven Retreat…

He has sent me…to comfort all who mourn.  Isaiah 61:1, 3

The mountains hold our secrets. As I snake my way through the mountains of West Virginia, my car windows open in celebration of spring, the whispers of generations waft through my car. They linger momentarily, searching for a receptive heart to fill with their stories before being swept up in the warm air dancing over the earth’s majestic tectonic offering of granite and coal.  I watch the ridge of bare-bone trees hugging the mountaintop sway under the weight of human emotions as these stories – some as brief as a desperate prayer – shinny up their spines before being released heavenward. 

Moses, the greatest prophet who ever lived, loved the mountains.  With more courage than any modern day rock-climber, he scaled a craggy mountainside enveloped in a thick fog to share the secrets of his heavy heart with the God whom he knew as the Great I Am. Deuteronomy ends with the Great I Am’s invitation to his friend for one last shared mountaintop experience.  Moses, now 120 years old but with the knees of a teenager, climbs Mount Nebo for a panoramic view of the Promised Land, God’s gift to his weary chosen people. “I have let you see it with your eyes, but you shall not cross over there,” the Great I Am says to his earthly friend. Scripture tells us that Moses died on the mountaintop and that he was buried in a place that “no one knows this day.” (Dt. 34:6)

Imagine yourself a witness to that divine-human conversation, that awe-filled, grief-tinged interchange between two friends who understood – maybe for the first time – the cost of Love. In the silence that followed, hear the haunting anguish of the Great I Am as he wandered the mountainside carrying the limp body of his dear friend searching for a final resting place far from curious human eyes. That place, the spot where God has come to mourn in private the loss of his dear ones throughout the ages, is the secret that the beautiful West Virginia mountains keep for a sister mountain. 

An invitation:  In your mind’s eye, linger on a mountain mourning bench and offer the Great I Am your secret sorrows.

Rev. Dr. Rindy Trouteaud is a retired Presbyterian pastor and WVIS Associate Spiritual Directorintern from Tucker, GA. She writes weekly reflections on searching for God in the most ordinary places, Epilogue: for those considering next chapters. Sign up for Epilogue by emailing her:  rindy@trouteaud.com.