Ice-capped 14ers stretch across the Colorado skylines, commanding my respect and wonder. Their peaks tippy toe to touch the lowest cloud cover, seemingly meeting the heavens. These mountains stand upright and proud, unmoved by time.
Toward the end of hiking the Rockies yesterday, my legs felt heavier with each forward movement. Whistling twenty mile per hour winds pushed against my every step as I ascended the last two hundred feet of the nearby peak that provides a panoramic view of the Continental Divide. These beautiful landscapes, emblematic of my beautiful Creator, challenge me to consider loss in a new way.
Along the trails that I have meandered this weekend, signposts remind me to walk along the pathways in order to help protect and preserve the historical ground I am treading. And I go along with the instructions because I want to do my part in preserving what is beautiful. It is so rare that we experience beauty in its original form.
But when we do see it — in the midst of tree lined mountain-scapes or clear as glass water trickling down red rock formations or in the smile that grows with our children as they age from one to twelve to seventeen, we want to take note and memorialize the moment. We want hold on and keep the most beautiful moments somewhere in our heart’s memory, forever.
But beauty cannot live without sacrifice coming before it.
When I think of how we, as mothers, have chosen to give up our own bodies to feed soft-cheeked newborns in the quiet, dark hours and how we have acquiesced for generations to the stretching wide of our hips and our wills so that babies growing into children might lunge forward, beyond all the safe places we’ve created, I begin to grasp, maybe just a little, why beauty and loss live so closely together.
Why when my plate feels too full, my heart screams empty.
Why when my friend needs help, my helplessness leads me to listen because I have no words.
Why when someone is suddenly gone, they are suddenly everywhere.