“Earth has no sorrow that heaven can’t heal.” ~ David Crowder
It was that one final thing, that big scary monster lurking in my closet. For months I knew it was time to face it. It was time to go that last 10% of my journey.
It was time to face Stone Mountain.
On March 24, 2010, I shielded my eyes from the granite tower for what I hoped would be the final time. I swore I’d never face it again, that I’d never come back to the place that had become the epicenter of my tragedy.
I avoided it as best I could.
Over time, it became larger than life in my very own mind. I’d dream about it. I’d “hide” any friends’ pictures on Facebook with it in the background. I even prayed that God would make the earth swallow it up.
From afar, I eventually made peace. I’d see it every time I drove from my parents house to home. I figured that was good enough, that was close enough to closure.
But, that was only 90%.
On a sunny Saturday in June with my best friend Casey and her sweet girls in tow, I went the last 10%. I was certainly thankful for the company, representing new life in the midst of loss.
As we pulled into Stone Mountain Park, I became short of breath, that not so welcome feeling in the pit of my stomach returned.
I breathed deeply.
We parked and got out. And with hands of the sweetest 2 girls in mine, we walked to the lawn directly in front Stone Mountain.
As I stepped onto the grass, I wasn’t sure how I’d feel or what to say or think. I had dreaded this moment for weeks. I just wanted it over.
I let go of the girls’ hands and slowly walked to the center of the lawn. I planted my feet and looked up.
I faced it.
I faced Stone Mountain, the very mountain where my husband left this earth.
I faced it head on.
There was a long pause, silence. I tried to take it all in. I looked to the right of the carving, the area where my Tony crossed over the fence at the top and fell. I shook my head.
But I was okay.
I was really okay.
Casey had said to me the day before that she felt as if Tony’s fall was a lifetime ago…and in that moment, back at the place that started the very worst nightmare of my life, I felt the same way.
I wasn’t the same person that left that mountain 4 years ago. I really wasn’t the same person who walked through 3 intense years of grief.
I’ll never be her again.
As I stared at what had become the biggest mountain in my life, I realized that it doesn’t have to represent tragedy anymore.
Instead, it represents a place of healing.
It represents how far I’ve come, how far my Jesus has carried me. It represents a mountain conquered in my life – something I never thought I’d see the other side of.
We didn’t linger long. One of the girls commented, “Melissa, if we just came to see the mountain, then we’ve seen it. Can we go now?”
Yes, sweet girl, we most certainly can.
I had seen it, and now it was time to walk on, to move forward. Yet, I walked away victorious, with incredible gratitude in my heart for my God and his infinite Grace.
His Great Grace.
I will always miss Tony, I will always reflect fondly on our love story, yet I will celebrate even more the loving arms of my Heavenly Father who loves me too much to let me wallow too long in the depths of loss.
It’s time to trust Him for what’s on the other side Stone Mountain, what awaits is yet to be uncovered. Still I will trust Him.
Dearly loved, mountain conqueror,