To Reach The Highest Height

by H. Clay Gorton

They pushed their way through the tangled undergrowth. The jungle was hot and steamy. Foul odors from unsavory wastes and molding debris filled the air. As the canopy overhead blotted out the sun, the confusing path they followed was but dimly lit and barely discernable. As they plodded along in this telestial environment they came across groups of people around campfires in a mad frenzy of revelry. Some performed lewd dances, trying desperately to attract attention, while others, with insatiable appetites, gorged themselves. Some were furtively hanging on the edge of the crowd waiting for opportunities to snatch anything that was not carefully attended.

As the small band of comrades neared one group or another, they were rushed upon with insistent enticements to join in the merrymaking. One or two at a time would be pulled reluctantly away, and as they began to participate in the sensual activities and raucous behavior of their new associates, they quickly forgot their former affiliation and the lofty goals they had previously espoused.

Those that remained made their way along the dim path. Gradually the ground rose and the trees thinned out so that the path was somewhat easier to follow. Here in the higher elevations the noisy crowds of senseless revelers were left behind. The foul odors and steamy dankness of the jungle were replaced by the visage of pleasant pastures and the touch of soft breezes that carried the perfume of fragrant flowers.

The paths were well lighted and sign posts explained directions and destinations. The various paths led off to different intellectual and artistic pursuits. Passersby were cordial and anxious to please. They readily explained their particular interests. Some were involved in developing new technology to benefit mankind; others were composing and performing beautiful music.

Of those who started on this journey, most had been lost in their transit through the steamy telestial jungle. Even here in the terrestrial uplands there were enticements to follow other paths. The paths all led to worthwhile enterprises, engaged in by noble people filled with altruistic desire. They were open in sharing the secrets of their work and the deep sense of fulfillment they experienced as they pursued and accomplished their admirable goals.

These activities satisfied intellectual desire and artistic expression. As the small group made its way along, one by one most of its members became engrossed in the noted achievements. Enticed by the sense of accomplishment and the acclaim they would receive for their contributions, they rationalized that they were accomplishing a greater good, bade farewell to their other comrades and took up residence in their new society.

The path now became steeper, the terrestrial settlements fewer. Away in the distance one could make out the form of the snow-covered celestial peaks. The dedicated traveler had been so intent on following the trail that he had not noticed that now he was alone. All the others had been enticed away to pleasant pastures and noble terrestrial pursuits.

Now the air was thin, the path rocky and steep, and progress was difficult. It demanded full attention and determination. Soon the path disappeared under the blanket of pure white snow. Direction now came from within, always upward. Great care must be taken not to slip and fall. It was necessary to chisel handholds and footholds in the crisp snow and to exert all one’s effort. One step at a time the lone traveler made his way upward. The climb was exhausting and required all his strength and all his concentration. As he began to think that he had given all that he had, new resources of strength were called up from his inner self and he was able to go on.

At last he reached the celestial peak. The sun was brilliant, his vision unlimited, his exhilaration complete. From here he could reach upward and put his hand in the hand of God.