When life brings you mountains, you don’t waste your time asking why; you spend your time climbing over them.

A. J. Darkhouse, in Rise of the Morningstar

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My friend Gail has overcome a number of life’s inclines and obstacles to reach the mountain top – a place of joyful voice, wisdom earned, humility, gratitude and greater love.

Yes, mountains are climbed.  If not, discontent, dissatisfaction, anger and hostility.  Those who never climb do one thing and one thing only – disrupt the peace of others.  Love is out of reach to those who fail to climb.

Not climbing is not an option if life is the goal.

Lest you think I talk through my hat, of things I have never done and have not come to know deeply – as seeds sown and grown in the soul’s deep, dark, rich, living soil, I share some of my details.

Fatherless, without siblings, deaths of loved ones early and consistently throughout my life – topped by the death of my wife when she was 29, lost of a family home, consignment to public housing, the violence of my times and neighborhood, unemployment, poverty, dyslexia, welfare, food stamps, a broken second marriage, a long uphill climb in virtually all quarters – personal and professional, a close encounter with betrayal, pridefulness, weakness, deception, selfishness, folly and frailty of others as clients, judges, lawyers, Congressmen and Congresswomen, religious men and women, clerics, essential institutions, family members, employers, Presidents.

Yet, amid this – living what comes one’s way.

The summit, you see, is reached by living what comes our way and walking day by day to the top. Nothing grows the within-seeds of your full humanity but the acceptance and the climb – day after day.

There really isn’t any magic to this – just persistence, determination, commitment, toughness, relentless effort – and, yes, this: an act of faith – an implicit belief that you are made for fullness, to know joy and live in peace – the peace that comes from the climb and the view from the mountain top.

Yes, God calls from the mountain and seeks us from the deep.

Every mountain top is within reach, if you just keep climbing.

Barry Finlay, in Kilimanjaro and Beyond