Me: Is there anything you would like me to ask Marshall Vian Summers on your behalf when I go to the 2014 Encampment?
Child: How was your day?
Me: Well, even Messengers need someone to ask them how their day was.
I try to help people up the mountain
It has taken a while, but Child came up with what I consider to be an excellent question. This conversation took place not too long before the 2014 Encampment.
Me: I’ll be at Encampment soon. Is there anything you would like me to ask Marshall on your behalf?
Child: Does Marshall consider himself responsible for the happiness of his students, the students of his teachings?
Me: Would you like me to offer an opinion as to what he might say, or just let the question sit until then?
Child: I’m willing to hear your opinion.
Me: I believe he would say “No.” I believe he would consider students of the New Message to be responsible for their own happiness.
Child: Well, he seems to suggest that happiness isn’t an end in itself.
Me: I agree. I would say he focuses more on purpose than on happiness.
Child: Well, then, does Marshall consider himself responsible for the success of his students?
Me: You mean their success by worldly standards, or their success as students of the New Message?
Child: As students of the New Message.
Me: Again, I believe he would say “No.” I remember a webcast where Marshall said something to the effect of “I am doing something important.” It reminded me of Nehemiah, who said “I am doing a great work and cannot come down.”
Child and I have had a conversation about Step 85, “I find happiness in small things today” of Steps to Knowledge. Child seemed to be satisfied with my response. But I am sharing this to share that during the Encampment, I became less satisfied with my answers to Child’s questions. I became less satisfied because during the Encampment, Marshall displayed a certain solicitude toward the people there. On the third day, I wrote in my journal that Marshall remarked, “I try to help people up the mountain.” On the fourth day, Marshall said, “This community is precious to me. What brings it together is precious to me. What holds it together is precious to me.” I therefore wrote a note to Marshall wondering if I had really described the full picture in my answer to Child’s questions.
As people were leaving on the final day, Marshall approached me and answered my question. He said, “I don’t guarantee happiness, but I do help people find the way.” I therefore consider the full picture to be more nuanced than my answers to Child. While Marshall doesn’t feel responsible for the success of New Message respondents, he certainly isn’t indifferent.
I am here to tell you that if you are climbing the mountain of purpose, the mountain of meaning, the mountain of your mission in life, then you have a friend in Marshall Vian Summers, who said, “I try to help people up the mountain.”
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