Some Everests choose us, some Everest we choose. We chose the Double Challenge. We do it for youth, we do it for our families, we do it for ourselves.
Before going to bed on this last day, the group gathered in a tent around the two Mario’s. Despite the fact that I have heard their testimony twice, I can’t resist; the tears run down my cheeks. Emotions are here, and the group is carried away by the two Marios’ words.
Mario C: “I spent years trying to catch my daughter’s feet. I went to the top of Everest to get closer to her, to get close to rub her ears one last time. During my journey up the mountain, my daughter spoke to me. She said, ‘Dad’s okay.’ That’s okay. It is time you lived your dreams. I’m with you now, Dad.”
To make room for novelty, we have to let things go. We have to make some room. This is what the two Mario’s wish for the participants. All have chosen this Everest, the Double Challenge, to bring about some change in their lives. There is a before and an after to the Challenge.
“We are real millionaires when we really think about it. We are healthy, and this has no price!” says one of the participants.
After a group photo shooting, the sun and skies honour us with their warm and gentle presence. The group is delighted with this gift of life. “We have frostbites and sore muscles, but darn we are so happy! Where is happiness? It is in the middle of the lake!”
The big challenge is ahead: getting back to normal life, facing the blues of returning home. The real challenge begins: not forgetting that what we learned on the lake is for life. All we need to do is “engrave” the feeling of well-being and wholeness, felt at this moment on the lake, in our hearts. Keep it alive, even if the humdrum will end up catching up with us.
What we have won on the lake is there. It was given a special place in our hearts and minds.
What about happiness? Bah, it has always been there. It’s just that this time it was given a lot of room. We taped it with “Duct tape” within us to make sure it did not escape. What was cluttering our minds was left behind, on the lake.
Back on the lake, we are progressing. The group appears slowly, in the distance. It is waiting, and then when everyone is together, we continue. Only a few kilometres before the end…
At the finish line, it’s party time. Participants are dancing their way to the finish line. Music is in tune with our steps and hearts.
We won our Everest!
Oh yes! By the way, you know where Mario Cantin’s picture of his daughter is today?
At the top of Everest.
And what about his daughter?
With him, for ever. Like happiness that we found on the lake.
Laura Ducharme, Blogger and Photographer for On the Tips of the Toes Foundation.