Here's a short re-cap of what happened: Katie and her two friends, Luke and Anthony started climbing Mt. Hood on early last Friday morning (1am). They were only doing a short trip and were expected back Friday afternoon. My sister was expecting a call when she got to the bottom. No call ever came. Friday night the mountain rescuers, etc., were alerted that something had to be wrong when the three climbers had not returned. The weather started getting very bad with white-outs and high avalanche danger which made ground searching difficult. The body of Luke was found on Saturday morning, but no sign of the other two climbers. Luke had a digital camera which they looked at to get clues as to where on the mountain they could be. After finding Luke and investigating that situation, it is believed there was some kind of accident and Luke was going for help while Katie and Anthony built a snow cave. Katie had the skills, experience, and ability to survive on the mountain this long, even in subfreezing temperatures.
Each day from Saturday to Wednesday was a lot of terrible waiting for family and friends as ground searches were continually called off due to the dangerous weather. Helicopters went out several times, but it was so difficult due to the weather and over a foot of snow fell Monday into Tuesday. Conditions continued to get worse and were not planning on slowing down. The search was closed on Wednesday afternoon with the doctor on the case concluding their chances of survival now being at 1%. What a difficult time for family and friends receiving the news that Katie and Anthony are gone. I had been praying all week that no matter what the outcome that God would provide Katie and Anthony with supernatural warmth and physical comfort. I have a great peace in my heart that he did just that.
"This has been a painful week. In my experiences with religion, even as a child, it has angered me to hear the ways some speak of pain. People falsely claim that because they believe in God, they will be shielded from harm, and if it finds them it will not hurt too badly. Equally insidious is the false claim that if pain finds you it is evidence of a failure in your beliefs. That is a lie that I think we may sometimes tell ourselves so that we can feel like we are in control. That an unexpected tragedy could be avoided with effort. I do not believe that is the message we were intended to hear.
Life is full of beautiful people, believing in God, yet experiencing dire pain. No, our lives will not be absent of pain, but the way we process that pain is what will be different. The journey of those experiences is what differs. I am a student right now, and spend hours a week thinking about perspective, and the way that the context of someone’s experience shapes the meaning they impute to the narrative of their life. A friend who is on that student journey with me, is constantly saying, “It’s about the process, It’s about the process.”
No, no, no, your faith or your beliefs cannot change your odds. It doesn’t hedge your bets, and it doesn’t build up a buffer zone that will keep life’s circumstances from finding you. BUT, it can shape your perspective on the narrative of your life. In I Thessalonians 4:13, those in our tradition are told, “We do not want you to be uninformed brothers about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others who have no hope.”
Tonight, I have some hope, but it is coming from a really dark place. Please keep praying & encouraging those of us who love Luke, Katie, and Anthony, we received tough news today."I am so proud of Amy. So proud of the way she has encouraged and inspired others during this difficult time. So proud of how she clings to Jesus, despite confusion, fear, pain, and sorrow. I have learned much this past week through such a devastating circumstance.
Please don't allow your mind to go to criticisms of these three climbers like many have, saying things about them being stupid or irresponsible. I am not a climber and don't know much about the mountain, etc. But I do know this...All three of them were experienced, skilled climbers, who have climbed all over the world. They did not go out in terrible weather conditions. The terrible weather came after the fact, when they were already supposed to be back. They knew what they were doing. No beacon/locator would have helped, etc. There have been some terrible, hurtful, and awful things said about theses climbers on the internet. Painful things I hope their families never lay eyes on. Bottom line: we are not in control of our lives and if God wanted Katie to be with Him after 29 years on earth, going up the mountain that day or not going up on the mountain that day wouldn't have changed a thing. Do we live our lives in a closed up bubble to try and control the outcome? No. Besides, we still wouldn't be in control. We just like to think we are.