I have a love affair with mountains.
Over the years I have loved walking the mountains of the highlands of Scotland, reveling in the ancientness of the Appalachians, and marveling at the majesty of the Sierras.
Not that I am an avid hiker. You will not find me trekking into these mountain ranges for a week’s hiking and camping trip. But I love to sit in the mountains and just be present. They have a sacredness about them that allows me a place to meditate and wonder.
Of course I am not alone in this feeling. Over the centuries many have written much the same about mountains. Indeed, most religious traditions I have encountered have a central story to their tradition that highlights mountains as being sacred, holy places. Mountains either lead to the divine, get one closer to the divine, or contain the divine.
One such story can be found in the Jewish tradition where a central figure to that tradition, a man called Moses, is called by Yahweh, God, to climb a mountain in order to talk to Yahweh. That is, Yahweh would meet Moses on the top of the mountain, and if Yahweh is present then the mountain must be holy ground.
Yahweh does indeed meet Moses on the mountain, but the story says Moses had to wait for Yahweh to be revealed. And Moses had to wait in cloud, a thick fog that had descended upon the top of the mountain, shrouding everything around him including the presence of the Divine. Then, after some time, Yahweh calls to Moses and says he can walk through the cloud and encounter Yahweh.
I mention this story from the Jewish tradition because it is in some ways a story about our work at Braid.
Sometimes it feels as though our work with our youth or the foster system is similar to climbing a mountain. As we climb that mountain it can feel as though we are walking into a deep fog that can be disorienting and confusing. Sometimes we feel as though we are lost or have wandered off our intended path with our team or our youth.
I believe mountains are holy places, and they are places in which the divine can be revealed. I believe that the divine is present, that divine life is being held within the young life entrusted to us, and in our work that divine presence can be encountered. Now, it may be that we have to wait, and wait for some time, and we may feel as though it is an uncertain waiting as we are enshrouded in a cloud and can’t see it. Yet I know that if we can engage and/or wait long enough, the love that resides at the center of that young life, a divine love, will be called forth by our love, that is the divine love that lies at the core of who we are. And all will be revealed. And a holiness will be encountered.
It is a story of the ages, across traditions and cultures and ethnic groups. And I believe it has been, is, and will be the story of Braid.