The Weight of It All
April 29, 2015
by Martha Spong
(A view from the Peak to Peak Highway near Boulder, Colorado – April 20, 2015)
Last week I traveled to Boulder, Colorado, to hear my son play in his graduate clarinet recital. I’ve been to many of his recitals and concerts, of course, as he moved from elementary school band to an arts high school and a conservatory. The environment of a concert hall is familiar; I know what to expect.
The larger environment, however, felt quite unfamiliar. I’ve never been to Colorado and have only seen the Rocky Mountains from the west and at a great distance. When you fly into Denver, there they are, rising to fill the horizon, so high they are in the clouds. During our visit, we drove through an open section of the Rocky Mountain National Park, prepared for the kind of cool day you might get in the spring, but with no idea what that might really mean at 9000 feet of elevation and above. As the road ascended another 1000 feet, to Bear Lake, the sky greyed and the clouds descended. In the parking lot we noted that around us were people in winter coats, with their snow shoes at the ready, parking their four wheel drive vehicles. We chuckled about our rented Mazda 2 and becoming one of those stories you read about the people unprepared for extreme weather, just as the snow began to fall. We turned back and drove down the mountain.
The same thing happened on our second drive, two days later, on the Peak to Peak Highway. The highway runs up and down, across peaks, but still thousands – and I do not exaggerate – thousands of feet below the magnificent peaks we could see in the distance, when the clouds did not close around them. At that elevation, the air is thin, and it weighs heavily on those who have not acclimated to it.
The weight feels much like the burden of a shock or a loss. You can’t put it down. It just sits on your chest, even while you can see the beautiful view of the world around you. In those 50 days after the Resurrection, the world must have looked beautiful and hopeful; after all, Jesus had risen. Yet I wonder if the shock of both his death and his resurrection didn’t press on his friends like the altitude of an unfamiliar landscape.
Close your eyes and let yourself feel the weight of the Resurrection.
What a thoughtful perspective on shock and grief and its invisible, undeniable weight.