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Life and Mountaineering

January 26th, 2013

Life and Mountaineering
Written by Rev. Paul Lai
Translate by Brenda Tsang

In 2004, a 66-year-old Taiwanese named Hong Ming Lang scaled the Jade Mountain, the highest peak in Taiwan, for the 300th time. He was thus honored as “Taiwan’s Super Man.” But Hong did not boast himself as a conqueror of the mountain. Through such an experience, however, he only realized man’s insignificance in front of God and His creation.

“You can never appreciate the grace of plains if you have not ascended a high peak.” I read these words when I was young, but I was ignorant of their meaning until I grew up.

Life is like a landscape painting with both plains and mountains. Going up a high peak requires strong will, courage and perseverance. A firm belief that the height will certainly be subjugated will make the endeavor a joyful, exciting and full of hope.
Living a beautiful life means not only dreams and visions, but also arduous work. A life without suffering seems like a pale canvas without color, a boring walk without ups and downs. Hardship, just like mountain climbing, can help build up strong faith and will in us.

A mountaineer needs not only an unswerving will of his own, but also a caring heart and a helping hand towards his fellow hikers. When someone falls, he is helped up on foot. When someone feels week, others in the team are of his service to make him strong enough to continue his effort. Reaching the pinnacle, therefore, is an achievement of the whole team.

The hiking experience would be a joyful one, when the hikers encourage and assist each other on their laborious way up, or even become bosom friend。
When we hit the mountain top, we are able to feel some closeness and sweetness in fellowship with God. There, the air is extremely fresh. There, those we boasted on the plain look so trivial, almost void. There, you would be able to realize that even the earth is like merely a particle compared with the universe, let alone man. On top of a mountain, people may feel humbler.
A missionary doctor Helen Roseveare considers her life at home, at school and in Congo as a mountain scaling experience. Once she fell into a darkest valley. Yet, it did not disappoint her or stop her. It only made her steps steadier towards another summit. Indeed, we can never expect there is but one height for us to ascend in our life.

Without passing through all kinds of trials, our life can be shallow and pedestrian. But mountain-climbing-like strenuosity can help us find richer and profound meaning of our life.

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