It is not the mountain that we conquer, but ourselves.
– Sir Edmund Hillary
On May 29, 1953, Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay became the first mountaineers to reach the summit of Mt. Everest (8,848 m), the highest peak on earth. This was an accomplishment that many doubted was even possible. In the 30 previous years, 10 different expeditions had failed and 13 people had died. Considering the lack of oxygen at that elevation and the many objective hazards along the way, it was certainly an extraordinary achievement not only for these two men and their team but for all humanity.
In the years since the first ascent, over 4,000 people have followed the path laid out by that first successful expedition. Hillary later remarked that someone had to break through the physical and mental barriers in order to demonstrate that such a feat was possible. This is the path of the explorer and the pioneer. For those subsequent 4,000 climbers, the mountain did not get lower, nor have the objective dangers decreased. What has changed is the understanding of how to succeed along with the empowering personal belief and confidence in reaching the goal that was born from Hillary and Norgay’s first success.
In a very real sense, all of us are indeed explorers and pioneers. Our sphere of operation is not the top of mountains, bottom of oceans, or even neighboring planets. Our territory of exploration is the realm of God’s heart and the pioneering of families that fulfill God’s Ideal of Creation. These are areas where no human beings have previously ventured. Certainly, there have been loving people and good families, but they have not been able to reach the standard Heavenly Father is longing for. His expectations and perspective of true love and ideal families far exceed our concepts that were learned from a fallen world.
Metaphors are helpful in understanding a situation or explaining a teaching, but they also have limitations. In the case of the Everest metaphor, there is a glaring deficiency. Only 4,000 people have had the opportunity and ability to climb Everest, whereas, all humanity is to fulfill God’s ideal of building God-centered families. What do all families need to complete the journey?
The first requisite is education. In order to know where we are going, we need to understand God’s Ideal of Creation and God’s Principles of Creation, especially as it relates to the family. Understanding, not in an abstract manner, but in knowing the roles, responsibilities, and expectations of each family member. The Family Peace Association’s founder and his father taught quite extensively about God’s Ideal of Creation and the true family ideal. Therefore, we need to be good students of their teachings.
The second requisite is responsibility. It is up to us to build a God-centered family. No one outside of your family can build your family’s relationship with God for you. All human beings are endowed by God with the precious gift of creatorship. Human beings have the ability to create whatever they can dream of. The foremost creative act is to create oneself, that is, to unite your mind and body centered on God. The next essential creative act is the creation of a family, which is rooted in the unity between husband and wife and between parents and children. These creative acts are crucial, because the relationships are the source of true love in our lives, and true love is our connection with God.
We are creating ourselves and our families each and every day. All of our actions have consequences. The question is whether or not our actions are positive and moving us toward God’s truth, righteousness, and goodness or not. Proper alignment of our thoughts and actions with God’s Ideal makes a huge difference in the outcome of long-term happiness.
Growing to become a family centered on God is the common task for the entire family. Grandparents, parents and children all have evolving roles to play. Fulfilling God’s Ideal of Creation is the internal goal all family members unite around. Each family member is unique and brings different gifts and talents to the “team.” The entire family draws closer to God by working together for the common purpose of actualizing an ideal family of true love.
The third requisite is deep unity and alignment with God’s providence. God is the center of providence. As filial children, we are to inherit the dream of God and move with His plan.
The quote from Edmund Hillary (above) is true for climbing mountains and even more so for spiritual advancement and maturity, both individually and as a family. Practicing a life lived for others starts with dominion of the self. Maturing from a life centered on self to becoming a person that lives for the greater good of God’s Ideal is the foundation for reaching the aspiration of a God-centered family and, more broadly, one world family under God.
For the pioneer, there are no way markers or sign posts. The way is not clear and the path is not smooth. We are going places humanity has never been and we are challenged at every turn by an enemy that has opposed God from the beginning. Of course, there are going to be difficulties! Nevertheless, with the proper attitude and perspective, we develop the character to overcome many more challenges than we thought possible.
No doubt, pioneers are plagued with uncertainty, fears, and doubts. They also have strong will, conviction, and deep motivation that prevails over momentary weaknesses. Pioneers and heroes from the past were not necessarily exceptional people, but they did extraordinary things due to the inner strength of their character developed through trials.
We are God’s heroes for His providence today! Have pride in God and His wisdom of creating us as His partners of true love. Have pride in your own family and leave a legacy that Heaven can be proud of.
No one makes it to the top alone. We all work together to build families that fulfill God’s dream and pioneer the way for all the families of the world to follow. This is the meaning of being providential families. God is waiting for us on the summit. This is our Everest.