Rule one: You die on Mt. Everest, you stay on Mt. Everest.
That’s not really said in the book, but it’s most definitely implied. The conditions are so extreme there and so dangerous, that the bodies of climbers who have died on the mountain stay there. It’s just too dangerous to try to retrieve them, and often times the frozen bodies become way points for a climber.
I’d read a small blurb about the book, and when I had a little birthday money left over, and saw the book on the shelf of my local Walmart, I decided to get it.
I knew it was a book about a military man and his wife, both good Christian people, one of which had an impossible dream, and that was to climb Mt. Everest.
Captain Earls had always had the desire to conquer the mountain. When he started talking about climbing it seriously, it soon became something else. The desire turned into an expedition to focus attention on PTSD and Veterans’ Suicides.
While at West Point, he meets Rachel. They fall in love, and get married. What follows is an voyage of epic proportions plus a discovery of one another and who they are deep down.
The book is filled with life lessons, even if you have to read into them.
One, the easy way might not be the right way. One of the decisions made while climbing the mountain was when they made the final ascent, they decided to leave the radios behind. They had cellphones and decided they were lighter to carry and would preform same function as the radios.
Surprise, modern technology and the cold on Everest didn’t play nicely. The phones let them down. The desire to save weight in climbing could have cost people their lives.
Want another? Sometimes you have to go out into the storm. Captain Earls, with frostbite on his feet goes out looking for part of his team. Leading means looking out for the team.
The book is also a love story. It’s about two people growing together with a mountain standing between then. It’s about Rachel coping with the very real possibility she may never see her husband again. It’s about Harold facing the possibility of his wife becoming a young widow. It’s also about a woman loving a man so much she’s willing to let him risk the impossible and support him in ways only she can.
The book covers the entire range of human emotion from joy to grief, from courage to fear. And it works on so many levels.
A Higher Calling served as our couple devotion book for several weeks. It’s life applications rather than preaching, something I think we need more of in today’s world.