This has been an emotional week. I gave my Everest experience to the Microsoft Operations Finance team at the Salish Lodge. It was a great event and I was overwhelmed with the inspired responses to my story. I’ve never had such a line of people wanting pictures with me. Again, very humbling.
I’ve also been helping counsel a local group of outdoor enthusiasts, climbing for a great cause. They had an unfortunate accident, which led to the death of a guest climber. It’s something you never want to have to deal with. I feel very fortunate to have never lost anyone or had major injury (besides going blind) in my adventures. However I know from my days as a US Navy Air Rescue Swimmer and from my many expeditions that things can happen out of your control quickly. I’ve dealt with plenty of rescues and other party’s deaths and it never settles well. My advice to the group is to continue climbing and continue talking. Everyone deals with grief differently but it’s important to not let this destroy their passion. It’s not what the passing woman would have wanted. She led an amazing life and is now in heaven, where we should all hope to be some day.
To top the week I got some information from a good friend’s wife. Kevin Houston was a US Navy SEAL Team 6 operator, who was shot down in Afghanistan with other fellow servicemen. We served together in HS-2 back in the 90′s. I first found out that he had accepted Jesus Christ into his heart after reading the great book, Fearless. I hadn’t been in contact with Kevin for over a decade, since I moved to Snoqualmie and he was serving in DEVGRU. His wife, Meiling, emailed me this week and said that they had been going to the same church for a couple years and then on May 15, 2011 he asked Christ to be his personal savior. I was completely floored. The exact same day that he was being saved, I was surrendering to Christ at the top of Everest as I descended snowblind and completely alone. I’m not a big believer in coincidences. God works in amazingly mysterious ways!