A few years ago Seth and I went to see “Touching the Void,” a mountaineering movie where one climber, Simon Yates, is forced to do the unthinkable. He cuts the rope between he and his climbing partner Joe Simpson moments before Yates would have been pulled off a snow ledge to his own death. The rope had jammed, they’d hit bad weather, Simpson dangled from the end of the rope with a broken leg and was unable to climb himself to safety. When Yates cut the rope Simpson fell but survived. He found himself broken, depleted and at the bottom of a crevasse. There, he said later, he realized that he did not believe in God. He said he’d often wondered what he would do if faced with a life or death situation. Would he pray? Would he all of a sudden get to his knees and talk to the Catholic God he’d been brought up to believe in? Would he ask for forgiveness? At the bottom of that crevasse he did not. And he knew then that he did not believe in a higher power. Somehow he crawled out of the crevasse, over moraine fields and back to his base camp in the remote Andes. The revelation he had at the bottom of that crevasse has always stuck with me; that moment when something became achingly clear.
I had one of those moments last week.
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