This is Mount Trashmore.

It’s exactly what it sounds like: a mountain made of trash; a landfill that has been converted into a park. My relatives used to live right behind Mount Trashmore, so I feel like I’ve climbed it 100 times.

Two of those relatives are dead, and have been for about 6 years or so; they both died on the same day—of completely different causes—back in 2016, but the remaining one still lives in that house and I visit him as often as I can when I’m in the area.

Every time I go out there, before going to Oceanfront, I make a stop at Mount Trashmore and take a few minutes to climb it and look around. The view is certainly nothing spectacular; all you see is the surrounding park, as well as Lake Trashmore and Lake Windsor, as well as Town Center in the distance. But being up there reminds me of old times; I think of all those days when I was much younger, and my family would once in a while take a daytrip to the Tidewater region, where on that Sunday morning we would visit the wonderful Brothers and Sisters in Norfolk, then spend an afternoon with some of them, then going our separate ways and meeting up with our relatives for dinner before heading back to Richmond. I think of how much fun we all used to have sitting around the dinner table, and all the laughs we had. I think of how special that house is where they all used to live in Windsor Woods, and the two-hour trek back to Richmond late at night, sitting in the backseat and being really tired but with a full heart after being around so many wonderful people that morning and then others later that evening.

To some, Mount Trashmore is just a landmark that they drive by on the Virginia Beach expressway on their way to the Oceanfront. For me, it’s a very special place that takes me way back.

Of course, there are many, much more famous landmarks all around the world, and they exist not only for direction and location, but to make us remember something or someone from the past.

The Children of Israel were to set up a pile of stones in the Jordan River, so that every time they saw them, they would remember what the LORD had done for them (Joshua 4). Hundreds of years earlier, Jacob had received a vision that was so incredible that he decided to commemorate it by setting up a pillar (Genesis 28:10-22).

We all have reminders of our successes and failures, and it’s different for each of us: David brought Goliath’s armor into his tent as a reminder of the victory the LORD had given him (1 Samuel 17:54). The Apostle Peter denied Jesus as he stood around a “fire of coals (John 18:18).” After Jesus’ Resurrection, he had breakfast with his disciples and there was another fire of coals (John 21:9); what do you think was going through Peter’s mind as he remembered what he had done—and been forgiven for? That fire of coals probably didn’t carry the same significance for the others, just as the twelve memorial stones that Israel set up, didn’t mean anything to the surrounding nations.

There are reminders everywhere of what the LORD has done for you and me, as well as his message to his creation. Be mindful, and think of him every time.

As for Mount Trashmore, I can’t wait to traverse that holy hill again this coming weekend if the good LORD wills.

(circa 2011)

Grace and peace,


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