I was not the only tourist this past Thursday morning exploring Colorado Spring’s most famous Garden of the Gods. I walked the gardens as a happy tourist, taking in the beauty of both the foreground and the background:
I could simply write about the beauty in walking the inner garden, or hiking the outer loop trails, or sitting on the veranda of the Visitor’s Center and taking it all in. I could emphasize that all this beauty is provided by the host city at no charge to the visitor. But I would be ignoring the price of walking these grounds if you bring a pondering soul.It does not surprise me that the ancients found God in the mountains. But in these rocks I found a spirit of humanity; a grouping of mortals coming together to share some grief. I don’t think every person experiences grief. All of us experience loss at some time in our lives; and all of us have known some level of pain, and hurt and suffering. But grief seems to require a willingness to embrace a deep pain to the point of owning it. And when a community comes together to grieve, it can be a holy experience—set apart from the daily routine of lives moving forward.
It was this particular rock formation that captured my thoughts since visiting the god’s garden. I saw in it a grieving community of seemingly timeless humans, portrayed by Mother Nature in the simplicity of these weathered rocks. In this rock formation I saw the bowed heads; the prayerful mourning; the leaning of one on another; the gnashing of teeth:
And somehow we humans found a way to turn the meaning of grief on its ear. Or perhaps we found a way to fully embrace grief with a spirit of lightheartedness; a reminder not to take ourselves or our ponderings too seriously. We found our release in the simplicity of two unlikely words grouped together and expressed by beloved cartoon characters. With a simplicity and complexity that speaks volumes: “Good Grief!