Lou Reichardt knew something about suffering for and reaching difficult
goals. His acknowledgment of how tough a path Mortenson was trying to walk
made Mortenson feel that he hadn't failed. He just hadn't completed the
And it stuck me so intensely. I was feeling a little sad this morning reflecting on my purpose in life, my calling, where I've come from and where it's taken me. I was contemplating my accomplishments or more truthfully, my failures. And ya know what? I know something about suffering for and reaching difficult goals. And it would really be in my best interest to acknowledge myself about just how tough this path I'm trying to walk is sometimes. It's a good path I've chosen for myself. It's steep and long and I haven't failed. I just haven't completed the climb.
Chapter 1 Failure
When it is dark enough, you can see the stars.--Persian proverb
Chapter 2 The Wrong Side Of The River
Why ponder thus the future to foresee,
and jade they brain to vain perplexity?
Cast off thy care, leave Allah's plans to him--
He formed them all without consulting thee.
Omar Khayyam, The Rubaiyat
Chapter 3 "Progress and Perfection"
Tell us, if there were one thing we could do for your village, what would it be? "With all respect, Sahib, you have little to teach us in strength and toughness. And we don't envy you your restless spirits. Perhaps we are happier than you? But we would like our children to go to school. Of all the things you have, learning is the one we most desire for our children."
--conversation between Sir Edmund Hillary and Urkien Sherpa,
from Schoolhouse in the Clouds
Chapter 4 Self-Storage
Greatness is always built on this foundation: the ability to appear, speak and act, as the most common man.
--Sham-ud-din Muhammed Hafiz
Chapter 5 580 Letters, One Check
Let sorrowful longing dwell in your heart. Never give up, never lose hope. Allah says, "The broken ones are my beloved." Crush your heart. Be broken.
--Shaikh Abu Saeed Abil Kheir,aka Nobody, Son of Nobody
Chapter 6 Rawalpindi's Rooftops At Dusk
Prayer is better than sleep--from the hazzan, or call to worship
Chapter 7 Hard Way Home
This harsh and splendid land with snow-covered rock mountains, cold-crystal streams, deep forests of cypress, juniper and ash is as much my body as what you see before you here. I cannot be separated from this or from you. Our many hearts have only a single beat.
--from The Warrior Song of King Gezar
Chapter 8 Beaten By The Braldu
Trust in Allah, but tie up your camel.
--hand-lettered sign at the entrance to the Fifth Squadron airbase, Skardu
Chapter 9 The People Have Spoken
All my fellow, why license is not deposed on the beautiful eyes of a beautiful lady? They fire at men like a bullet. They cut as surely as the sword.
--graffiti spray-painted on the world's oldest known Buddhist stone-carving,
in Satpara Valley, Baltistan
Fourteen more chapters to come. Good book.