The Highest Mountain – Great quote from Richard Nixon 1974 that got me thinking. Phoenix.
I was washing the dishes listening to Radio 4 and heard a fantastic speech from Richard Nixon. For those too young to remember he was the American President for five and a half years until he resigned on August 9th 1974.
The announcement came as a result of the Watergate scandal involving illegal snooping and other activities by members of the president’s staff, targeting political opponents.
Revelations in the press of a White House-orchestrated coverup, combined with the sworn testimony of Nixon staff members before a televised Senate investigative committee, had led to the collapse of political support for Nixon in Congress.
This is the remarkable impromptu speech Nixon made at his resignation amid the tremendous emotional strain of leaving the presidency in disgrace.
“And as I leave, let me say, that is an example I think all of us should remember. We think sometimes when things happen that don’t go the right way […] we think that when someone dear to us dies, we think that when we lose an election, we think that when we suffer a defeat that all is ended. We think, as Theodore Rossevelt said, that the light had left his life forever. Not true.
It is only a beginning, always. The young must know it; the old must know it. It must always sustain us, because the greatness comes not when things go always good for you, but the greatness comes and you are really tested, when you take some knocks, some disappointments, when sadness comes, because only if you have been in the deepest valley can you ever know how magnificent it is to be on the highest mountain. “
Richard Nixon (1974)
Listening to this I was reminded of my own attitude towards all that has befallen me. To experience real happiness and feel like you are on the top of the highest mountain you must have experienced the darkest times.
I recently had a long bout of crippling depression but suddenly one morning I woke up feeling good. I spent that day, and many after, counting my blessings and appreciating every little thing in this wonderful natural world we live in.
So when I’m in the darkest place there is still a little light shining to remind me that THIS WILL PASS (my personal mantra) and one day I will again feel on top of that mountain and experience real happiness again.
In the modern world everyone seems to be striving for constant happiness through consumerism and endlessly chasing money and status and power. Those brought up with vast wealth never really appreciate a ten pound note that can be spent on a treat for yourself. So those of us who really suffer can also really find happiness when there are periods of wellness. And really appreciate this in a way the privileged never can.
Just not being unhappy brings the greatest joy to me.