A friend asked me the other day about my blog title. So, if you are wondering . . .
My son loves to climb — rock climb and mountain climb. But, as a small child, he was so afraid of heights. I don’t know what transformed him from fearful to exhilarated, but it changed his life. Climbing has brought some amazing people into his life, too. One of those people was a young man named Anthony Vietti.
Anthony was a mentor, friend, brother in Christ, and climbing buddy. I know that he had a profound effect on my son’s life and helped to shape who my son is as a person. I don’t know the full impact Anthony had on my son’s life, but I know it was significant. And, I am grateful.
He was a friend that I trusted my son to spend time with and a friend I trusted my son’s life with–literally, when they climbed. He was a friend who, from my perspective, helped my son learn to love life and to serve and love others unconditionally.
Anthony and my son shared time in God’s creation, loving it together.
Few friends in life come along who have such an impact on who we are. Anthony was one of those people in my son’s life. I have no doubt that my son had a profound impact on Anthony’s life, too. Their friendship was cut short this past December. Anthony and two other young people–including another young man my son knew, Luke Gullberg–died in a climbing accident on Mt. Hood. Anthony was barely 25 years old.
I don’t climb, but I look in awe at God’s creation–and particularly the mountains. Mt. Hood will always remind me of God’s power and God’s plan. And when I look at her incredible beauty, I will always be reminded of Anthony and the beautiful friendship my son had.
And so, as I grieved for my son’s loss of his dear friend, I thought about and read about what people experience when they summit mountains.
What compels them to climb?
Those who climb usually seek the summit. I’m sure their reasons are as diverse as the people who climb. But I do know that, while they can summit, they can’t stay on the tops of those majestic peaks. The summit is temporary. But a place that is worth the journey. A place they can’t live or survive. But a place they are willing to risk their lives to experience.
And so, from the mountain top, they look down to the places from which they came and to which they will return. From the mountain top they stand closer to God–in the thin space between heaven and earth. In sacred isolation in communion with God. And, from mountain tops they know they must descend–to the base camp and the valleys beyond to spend time and to live and to prepare–for the next mountain top where they might find that sacred space again.
And so, From Mountain Tops is a place I hope to find and share sacred moments. But it is also a place I visit to reflect on the places in which I live and spend time–in the messiness of community and family. It is in those places that I prepare for those journeys to the summit. I hope you will join me.
The search for these three received national media attention. But here is a link to the post by the Sheriff’s office that conducted the search and rescue operation. Such compassion.