January 28, 2008

My Secret Obsession

If you've spent any time at all poking around on this blog you'll know I dearly love my husband. You'll have read stories about my sons and how much I love and appreciate them. You may have noticed I have strong feelings for chocolate. And you will be certain I am devoted to home schooling and being a home-maker. I hope I've also made it clear that Jesus is the love and Lord of my life.
I do, however, have one other thing I'm obsessed with.

I cannot stop reading books about people who have climbed Mount Everest. I've read more books about that than I have books on marriage, parenting, or homeschooling.

I am absolutely fascinated by people who are willing to face rock and ice falling on their heads, avalanches sweeping them away into frozen mummies, having their bodies secreted away in a crevasse until the end of time, losing their fingers and toes, cerebral edema, pulmonary edema, short/long term memory loss, temporary snow blindness...on and on. Why on earth do they do it? And how on earth could any sane person be that devoted to a goal? It takes years of training. Thousands and thousands of dollars. Sponsors, a team you can trust, medical personnel willing to sit at base camp and wait for your frozen, oxygen starved body to come limping back from the summit. (Provided all the "what-ifs" don't get you and you actually make it.) Not to mention needing Sherpas you can trust to carry your stuff to base camp and not back to their own humble little abodes.

The book I'm currently reading on Everest is the best yet. The crazy kid who wrote it actually tried to climb Everest 3 times in 4 years! That means I get 3 stories in one book!

I really want to know why people do it. Is it a "man" thing? A need to test themselves against the largest thing on earth? Is it a search for meaning? For purpose? If so-what would your purpose be if you did manage to summit and lived to tell about it?
I'm fascinated by the moutain itself as well. Can you imagine standing on the top of something so high the clouds dance around at its feet? I want to stand on Mount Everest's toes and worship the God who formed it. I want to sit there and wait for people to come crawling down and ask them why. Why did you do it? What drove you? What kept you going?
I've never found a book that clearly explains the whys and hows. It seems like even the people who make it can't explain their need to conquer that mountain.

(As I was finishing this post Mike called me into the livingroom where he's watching the "new" version of King Kong. There's a scene in the movie where one of the sailors asks another, "Why? Why doesn't what's-his-name turn back?"
The answer was something like this, "A part of him wants to. But he can't. He needs to defeat the thing he's most afraid of."
Wow. That puts a whole new spin on the climbers of Everest. Are they afraid of death? Of God? Of their own fear? Are they afraid of avalanches, crevasses, or blizzards? Is that what drives them? To defeat their own fears? Or to say, "Take that, God!"?)

Anyway, all this does make me wonder about my own little mountain. I'm starting to see a pattern to the things that hold my interest. Paul. Mount Everest. The people who climb it. Frodo and Sam. You have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood....


  1. I don't know why people would want to do that. It's just not my mind set. Different strokes for different folks I suppose. It was fascinating to learn this little tidbit about you however. If you ever find out what drives them- please let us all know. :-)

  2. You always give me something to think about. For me, my fascination is with people who WANT to live at the science station at the south pole. (They have to stay for a year because it's impossible to leave 9 months of the year). If the generator fails, they die within the hour. It is the most inhospitable place on Earth. I wonder why they want to do that, to isolate themselves, to not be able to change clothes for a year or even shower? I had never thought about it being a fear they need to conquer, and therefore the spiritual conotations.

  3. What is the name of the book???

  4. Hey Tif-
    the name of the book is Snow in the Kingdom by Ed Webster.

  5. I'm the same way when it comes to reading the owners manuals for vacuum cleaners--but that's because every vacuum cleaner that we get manages to die within a year or two.

    Wait a minute..."Tif"...commenting on a blog? THE "Tif" or some other "Tif?" I need to know.


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