A few years ago, I was hit with four simultaneous life crises. My dreams, aspirations and hopes were ground up in the garbage disposal of despair. I hung on, not by living day to day, but by living minute to minute. I survived. But I had not regained my vigor and excitement for life. I decided I needed a trial. I wanted to test my resolve and ability to withstand difficulty.
I picked a tall mountain to climb. I was out of shape, and could only hike 10 to 15 feet at a time. My poor physical condition should have stopped me. But of course it didn’t. Starting at around 10:00 a.m., I began my ascent.
Progress was slow and agonizing. Minor gains of elevation made the climb possible. By 4:00 p.m., I had made it to the top of the mountain. I was rewarded with incredible views I could not have imagined. But I had miscalculated. It would soon be dark. According to my GPS phone, I had ascended 2,400 feet. What an accomplishment. But I would have to descend that same distance to return to my truck. And I was exhausted.
I had no choice but to proceed. The descent was more treacherous because the road was covered with small, razor sharp rocks. A fall at any time would be deadly. I realized I had placed myself in a bad position. Down I went.
After descending 2/3 of the way, I discovered my GPS phone was gone. I had dropped it somewhere above. It was almost dark. Without it I could not find my way back to the truck. I was frantic and started hiking back up the mountain, although my legs were sore and I knew I could never find it in the dark. I abandoned my search after going back up 500 feet. I shouted at my incredible stupidity. A wild burro in the distance looked up at me, and then went back to grazing on the dry shrubs.
By now it was quite dark. I was so tired I could not stand up for more than a few seconds. The moon was coming up; I could see the light on the mountains across the valley. It even started to light my way, but where I was heading was total darkness. I was a physical and mental wreck. I was in a survival situation and I was losing my grip. I lay down to sleep. I had given up. I just wanted to sleep.
Then I noticed something which should not have been there. It was a glow, in front of where my truck should have been in the distance. It looked like someone was holding a flashlight and slowly sweeping it from side to side. I started to go in the direction of the light. By now I could no longer stand and had to inch my way down by sliding over the rocks on my canvas hat. The sweeping light continued to shine ahead of my truck as I descended.
I slid and inched my way down another 800 feet. The moon was now high enough that it reflected off my truck. As soon as I could clearly see my truck, the sweeping light disappeared. I forced myself to stand up and walk the last 100 feet. Upon arriving at my truck, I looked everywhere for the source of the sweeping light but could find nothing. I crawled into my truck and drove three hours home.
Over the next few months, I slowly recovered. I could not hike in the interim. My large toenails had disconnected from the nail bed and walking was slow and painful. I had plenty of time to put the fiasco behind me. Until now.
I had to reflect on what I had done. Or attempted to do as my wrecked body recovered over the next few months. At first, I rightly concluded that the whole experiment was pure folly. I had not prepared, was out of shape and had put myself in the position of having a physical and mental breakdown for no good reason other than to boost my ego. I got out my psychological cat o’ nine tails and beat myself up for several months on the way home from work to avoid reflecting on my “climb” after my return home each night.
Over time my thinking evolved. The swinging lamp guiding me down the mountain was not a fluke. It was there and it happened. In some isolated cases of extreme distress, there are ‘beings’ that answer us. I am stating that as a working hypothesis. That means I could be wrong. It also means I might suffer from confirmation bias and only count future positive evidence to strengthen my hypothesis. That is almost certainly likely. But since I am stating it as a hypothesis, I am willing to be proved wrong, and it nothing else, that means I have intellectual honesty.
That said, I conclude the following: we think we are alone, but we are not alone. This world, the heavens and the entire Universe is filled with life of types and forms we have never even dreamed of. I will not use the popular terms ascribed to such beings, such as spirits, angels, guides and so on because that is going beyond what I can prove.
However it just has to make you think, doesn’t it? If ‘they’ do exist, then it means we live along side them, and they know our trials. And from time to time, they make their presence known to us, sometimes they really help us. I wonder if I, or you, will ever be able to help one of them some day…