It was a dull Sunday evening with clouds hovering pensively over the sky when the cell rang to connect my son’s school number. It was my younger son on the other end. After monsoon vacation, this was our first verbal communication and we discussed for quite a long time. Before it was time to conclude, he told me, “Dad, I just forgot to tell you one thing. They will be telecasting Erik’s journey to the summit tonight in Natgeo. We are all set to view it in school. You and Mom, don’t miss too !”
It all brightened up in joy. We kept ourselves glued to T—the item I have never befriended with—for hours. Every step that fell on that tough track of ascent, from one camp to another and to the summit, had had pounces over my aching chest with doubts despite confirmed knowledge of its eventual success. I kept on watching him crossing a series of ice-faults separated by unfathomable voids through makeshift bridges, traversing glacial zones adorn with alluring crevasses and negotiating those merciless ice falls and finally, trudging on just a table-wide narrow ridge along South Col. Yes, he was there on the top of the world—atop 29,035 feet crown of the mother planet.
The gentleman I talked about is Erik Weihenmayer who unfortunately lost his sight at an age of only 13 years. But, he did never let such adversity interfere with passions for life. Yes, godliness can only reach up to holiness, and, he met Eric Alexander, a divine gift to humanity who himself was a renowned climber, but instead of achieving personal feats he offered his soul towards making others achieve newer heights. Eric was engaged in helping teens with disability, particularly with visionary defects, to explore beyond limits. Yes, his mission was named too as “Beyond Limits”. They met in 1998 during a seminar. Two hearts were soon lost in each other to realise eventual victory of human relationship.
People raised many questions when they heard about Erik’s dream about touching the summit and the most were averse to Eric’s support to make such dream realised. When their dream got the blessings of the almighty, the world stood stupefied and Eric gently said, “We shattered the perception the world had about what a blind man could or should do. We silenced doubters. We even silenced our own doubts.”
It was May 25, 2001. Erik Weihenmayer became the man in the history of human progress. Again, on September, 2002, he was atop Mt. Kosciusko in Australia to become a member of only 100 mountaineers who had climbed Seven Summits—the highest mountains of each of the seven continents. It did not end his journey. Success is only a turn in the road we travel. It encourages us only to walk towards another turn.
Dear children, I sincerely believe that most of you must have known those facts, at least a broad overview of what I have so far discussed. It is neither my wishes nor my dream to make you aware of human successes. I only wish to make you feel that seeing is not the vision. Millions of living beings are blessed with that beautiful sense that enables them to explore colourful world. The journey that we travel is there for letting those shining rays together light the candle within. That’s the vision. That is what Erik did. That is what Eric did. Sight is a pleasure, insight is godly. That is the vision.
I will definitely love to mention what Erik told Tom Foreman about his feelings after summit :
“ Tom Foreman: All of us who have not been there, imagine the view. What was the sensation for you?
Erik Weihenmeyer: I could hear prayer flags flapping in the breeze and I could hear the wind and the sound of space and I reached down and touched the snow. I didn't have those views dropping away in front of me, you know, but I think a summit is a lot of an internal feeling anyway. When people say they summit mountains for a view, you know: Get a pretty picture of the mountain and save yourself two-and-a-half months of work. I think it's a lot of an internal symbol of what your life is about. ”
I will continue to hope that you will feel about who is blind, the person without ability to see or those without vision. I keep my soulful wishes that your innocent souls will feel enough passion to make the candle lighted within your gentle consciousness. Once it is there, it will endlessly go on emanating shining rays of trust, truth, faith, compassion and knowledge. There lies the lotus of humanity, the dream that HE blessed us all with to realise the dream of being together with HIM for ever.
[ Acknowledgement : I sincerely acknowledge contributions made on this score in “http://www.climbingforchrist.org/, http://www.my-inspirational-quotes.com/, http://www.touchthetop.com, "Touch the Top of the World" by Eric Weihenmayer, and http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2003/07/0730_030730_everest.html, and.