Summit is a misused word and it is wearing a bit thin with me. It is akin to hero, a label we apply to people who have never performed an act of bravery or shown great courage or character. A summit is supposed to be a meeting to confer about a matter of great importance. It is also the highest point or top of something, like a mountain. Reaching the summit is a significant achievement. It is not where you seek the answer. The summit is the answer.
Have you have ever had a mountain top experience? I have been fortunate to have a few in my lifetime. Some of them were physical like making a difficult climb or running a marathon. Others were reaching goals like important promotions or having a book published. No matter the summit reached, there are steps you cannot pass by along the way and still have a true mountain top experience. If you bypass the challenges and still manage to get there somehow, the experience falls a little flat. It holds little true meaning for you and even less than that for those who depend on you.
The important steps may include many grueling hours of sacrifice, physical training and mental preparation before you can even contemplate participation in the actual event. The reward for reaching the summit following such preparation manifests as an inner confidence whose depth is clearly visible on the exterior. It is also the personal knowledge gained that you can achieve what you set out to achieve if you take the small, often painful, but necessary steps along the way. When you finally reach the mountain top, you can sit for a while in quiet solitude, enjoy the clear air that does not exist down there in the valley, and take in the grand view of God’s creation. That momentary elation happens just before the reality sets in that you cannot stay on the mountain top forever. You must come down from it eventually and walk with those who have never had a similar experience.
When you have had a true mountain top experience, you are equipped for life’s toughest challenge. That challenge is to bring those who depend on you back to the mountain top with you. Not just bring them along, but have them race forward enthusiastically to follow you up the mountain.
Some people arrive in this world already having a secure perch on the mountain top. Others find themselves placed up there by means and for reasons other than overcoming the challenges of the climb. They have never had a true mountain top experience. Because of that, they end up with once enthusiastic followers becoming reluctant ones leaving drag marks on the trail as they are pulled along with them on a barreling trip over the mountain side.
There was a climate change summit. Climate change is the name the global warmers hope will convince you to climb with them to their mythical summit and turn over to them control of all aspects of your life. Along with chatter about the green economy and the green utopia, the summit peaked well below the mountain top. The reason is that most simply resist the premise that a gas which is essential to life and exhaled by all of us about 12 times a minute is destroying our planet. The global warmers got to the mountain top on a false premise bolstered by phony science. No one is racing forward to leap off the cliff with them.
I almost forgot about the beer summit. You would think that someone with a modest collection of beer paraphernalia from many years living in Germany would have tuned in like a laser beam on this one. But it was not about beer. I was disappointed. I am not sure what it was about unless it was a feeble attempt at making irregular guys look like regular ones. There is only one guy there who looks like he may have sipped a cool one with his buds after a long day. He is also the one who looks uncomfortable in his suit. He has likely had a mountain top experience.
How is that jobs summit working out for us? The problem with the jobs summit is that its intent and purpose was to create the illusion that people who have never created a job (never climbed that mountain) and can never create one actually have plans to create them.
President Obama’s jobs summit was aimed at producing ideas to battle a surging unemployment problem exacting ever greater economic and political toll, but the event only highlighted the tough dilemma he confronts…. Labor unions and liberal think tanks …have released ambitious proposals to spend hundreds of billions of dollars on job-creation programs focused on public works and infrastructure.
This was not a summit. This was whistling past the grave yard.
Then there was the summit of all summits – the health care summit. We can sum up what this high point of political discourse produced rather quickly. One politician lays out logical and cogent points for discussion and another responds with the heart wrenching story of the woman who wears her dead sister’s teeth.
Together now, let us all hold hands and leap off the mountain.