It's tough enough to tackle climbing Mount Kilimanjaro. But imagine the pressure of climbing alongside NFL players and American soldiers who were wounded in combat. It's going to be hard to keep up, and when it does get tough you wouldn't want to complain about the struggle.
This was precisely the scenario when BYU Associate Athletic Director and former BYU Football player Chad Lewis summited the mountain several years ago. He talked about his experience at last Friday's Jesse and Amanda Knight Society annual lunch.
Speaking to the group of Knight Society members (those who have included BYU in their estate planning), Lewis compared an experience he had on the climb to their own contributions to BYU students.
The climb was difficult, he said, and getting harder and harder the higher they climbed. A couple of the group members had to be carried down the mountain because of injuries or elevation sickness.
After making it the top, on the way back down the high altitude started taking a toll on Lewis, who felt like he was going to pass out.
Seeing Lewis' struggle, one of the guides offered to carry Lewis' pack. The guide completed the climb every week and was barely tired. At first Lewis refused. The guide offered once more and Lewis relented. This experience taught Lewis to be more grateful to those who have already gone through similar experiences and who turn back to offer help.
"I thought of the Savior carrying our burdens," said Lewis. "There are times when we can't carry our pack and we have to hand it over to someone who has been through it all."
Helping to carry the burdens of others is exactly what the Jesse and Amanda Knight Society is about, said Lewis.
"You are remembering these BYU students with these gifts you were blessed with," he said.
The Jesse and Amanda Knight Society is open to any donor who has named BYU in a deferred gift such as a BYU retirement account, a will, a life insurance policy, a gift annuity or a trust. There are more than 950 current Knight Society members.