Recently CFCA sponsor Dan Nguyen attempted to climb Mt. Aconcagua in Argentina. Although neither he nor his fellow climbers reached the summit, he learned many important lessons along the way and appreciates the support he received from the CFCA community. Here are his reflections on his amazing experience.
Trudging up the mountain allowed for fascinating stories from fellow climbers about their previous adventures. From climbing Antarctica in minus 60 degrees wind-swept blizzard, to wading waist-deep in the South Pacific mosquitoes-infested, tropical jungles to commemorate WWII battle sites, my fellow climbers enthralled my imagination.
But the journey also included moments when we were too exhausted to talk, or during the silent nights under the star-lit sky where the most provoking conversations took place only with God. Why am I struggling up this desolate mountain? What wounds am I asking to be healed in this harsh environment? What would you like me to do when I am back home?
Everybody has a mountain to climb in their lives, and the going can be exhausting. But the joy is there just for the trudging along toward a worthy goal. From relationship to money issues, from raising children to maintaining good health, at times we all have wished for a better day.
The joy of climbing a mountain is not the 15 minutes on the summit but in the demands of the mountainside during the days of trudging up.
Even though our team did not make it to the top, the journey has, nevertheless, been a profound experience for all of us. I treasured the people on my team, and I can never forget the joy and disappointment of this trip.
In the same way, I treasure the people in my life and the ups and downs of daily life.
When you are ready to give up, know that it is not that you don’t have what it takes or that you are not the person for the job or that you can’t do it. It simply means you need a little rest. Quiet the chatter of your mind. Nurture your body with nutrients and a break. After a short break, you will feel just as new again. You just need a rest!
In the higher camps most of us could not sleep, partly because of the effects of high altitude. But another big reason was the howling winds. Sheer massive volumes of air slam into the tree-less mountain rocks and whistled through the mountain passes to create this constant howling in the dark nights.
During one of these moments, I made a pact with God. It comes in three parts: The first is that I will do my best to make the summit. The second is that God will not make an exception for meóI will get the same treatment as any other climber. And the last part is that God will stay with me no matter what happens.
With that, I feel a complete sense of peace and I fall asleep in the early morning hours. That sense of peace stayed with me the rest of the journey.
At the end, I missed the chance at the summit. But it was so memorable and so much fun, even with the disappointment.
Going up the top is optional but getting down is always mandatory. Sometimes you have to save the fight for another day, and I will be proud to take the CFCA flag to the next peak of the Seven Summits in due time.
With much love,