Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Why I cave!

Wash out cavern. We would have to walk down in these. Watch out for the jagged rocks! Those hurt.
Looks simple enough, a few stones fell over. Except that large on on the left is actually about 200 ft. long. Glad I'm not under that one!
A great picture to show you how Narrow it is. Many spots you have to turn your head to get through.
Drop a stone. If you hear it hit bottom then your good!
Give you a feel for the narrow walks (And this was the most open! You could walk with your back and knees bent)
Now this is a better example of how narrow it is. Notice how close the ceiling is to the Flashlight.
How would you like to craw/drop through that hole?
Watch the step!
Many different minerals are present down there. You can see, Marble, Fools Gold, Coal, Iron etc...

“Journey through Darkness”
Experiencing God through Caving
(Part of Chapter one of a unpublished book on Caving by Chris Cecil and Curtis Cecil)

Why I cave?

My answer is always multifold. I cave for the adventure. I cave to push my physical limits to their extremes. I cave to find, as an amateur explorer, the wonders of God’s creation seldom seen by human eyes. I try to reach areas never explored before by any other person and to be the first one to find an undisturbed area of God’s creation. I cave to find the Creator of these natural wonders. Mostly, I believe that I cave as an escape from all the troubles of our bothersome, normal world. I cave to experience my own emotions at their purest: Loneliness, Depression, Despondency, and Despair. Somewhat Sadistic? Perhaps. But in embracing the darkness sometimes we more clearly see the light.

In the Bible, in the book of Job, it says twice that God and the sons of God were sitting in fellowship with God. While they sat, in what could have only been perfect harmony of soul, Satan came into their midst. At this time, God would ask Satan “From where do you come?” Then Satan would answer “From wandering in the Earth and going back and forth through it.” It is my opinion that God in essence asked Satan if he had been caving. Based on my experience, I know why. This may seem strange but I believe Satan, being cast out of fellowship with God, feels the loss of God’s holy presence. Even being evil, he wishes to feel the folding arms of Gods grace. In order to reconnect with God, Satan must first get as far away as possible, clear his mind. Wander in the darkness until he can humble himself, letting his loneliness overtake his pride. Then and only then can he willingly call out for the healing presence of God.

As I go deeper and further into the depths of darkness, it is then that I am able to separate myself from all that is worldly. Perhaps caving is my personal “valley of the shadow of death.” But it is in this that I push myself also through the depths of darkness and despair. Here I can physically feel the loneliness of separation until I can stand no more. Emotionally, physically and most of all spiritually drained, I call out for God in total surrender. In nothing but darkness, my heart and soul desire and will be satisfied by nothing less than the presence of God.

So many people today struggle with depression, anxiety and loneliness. On one hand I can say that I don’t believe myself to have fallen prey to their afflictions of the mind and soul. But on the other hand, I would have to say that I was lying to myself for it is only in the acceptance of these pains that I have found contentment and relief through the grace of God. Any one of us would have to admit to suffering with these all too common ailments. It is in how we adapt and cope with them that separate us from one another. Most can’t accept the trials in our lives and need medications or counseling to heal. I on the other hand, wish to experience any emotional trials given by God or allowed by God to the fullest extent. For without the total envelopment of our own woes can we experience pure healing through the grace of God? “I’m Ok, your ok?” No not in my life. Why pretend? I prefer to accept, and admit, and dissolve into the emotional depths of my soul to escape from the pit, pure and revived using only the compass of God’s healing touch.

From the physical side I love the challenge to push myself physically further than ever before. I would say that my physical endurance is about average. There are many times I have exhausted myself to the point of resting between each step. I don’t feel the “thrill of the burn.” I feel the wonder and amazement that this body created in Gods image will always find a way to make one more step. I’m not looking so much to develop myself physically but force myself to face the physical challenges mentally. It is the mindset of pushing my physical limits that I find more interesting. To mentally push past exhaustion and pain is my advantage. Where is the thrill in running 5 miles that so many athletes seem to enjoy? When I go caving I don’t want to go in to the point of endurance where I know I can still make it out. I want to go as far in and to the point of being exhausted and lost so that I think that there is no way I can make another step let alone do it all again to get back out. I want to fear for my survival. We only fear the things we think we can change. True fear can never be conquered, only embraced. That’s what I hope to accomplish while caving. Contrary to what most think, I say that adrenaline junkies do not get their “rush” from cheating death. They get it by pushing their life’s light to a near combustible extreme. Caving is death and darkness and involves a rush of an entirely different magnitude. Both involve an irreversible, irrevocable commitment to the full experience. Death and darkness in both instances, the fueling involves the greatest of conundrums, which is to experience to their fullest, both living and dying. That is the best way I can describe the feeling I look for in a cave: To push my physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual limits to and past the edge.

I read a fictional story once, I don’t remember the source but it also explains the mental state of embracing death and darkness to win the mental edge. The story was of two identical twin brothers genetically engineered; one to excel physically and the other to excel mentally. Since the physical brother was never interested in mental challenges and they were both competitive they always competed physically. They lived on an ocean beach and the favorite of both were challenges in the water. Of course the physical brother always won. One day a common challenge was made. They were to swim out as far as they could, leave a marker buoy and swim back to shore. Whoever swam the furthest would win. As usual the stronger brother swam fast and far, left his buoy and returned to shore. After the normal wait and no sign of his brother, he began to worry. Instead of the normal 30 minute wait it was 4 hours before he saw signs of his brother, exhausted, working his way towards the shore. As the weaker brother fell on the beach with the smile of his first win, the stronger brother asked him how this was possible. The weaker, smarter brother said “You brother swam as far as you could and released your buoy only at a distance reserving enough energy to get back. I swam as far as I could and using all of my energy was able to pass your marker but had no hope of returning to shore.” The smarter brother had swum to the point of drowning. Then rested and made the long slow swim to shore one stroke at a time.

This is how I cave. I prefer to be lost. I try to always go out of each room a different way than the way I entered. It is only when I feel the talons of death and fear that I am ready to find my way out.


Sleep, what's that??? said...

You didn't mention how LONG you were STUCK down there without any water or food.....

I'd rather be caving! said...

That comes later in the book.... But that chapter was WAY too long for a blog.