Claustrophobia 101


Boxwork (thin blades of calcite that project from cave walls and ceilings, forming a honeycomb pattern) is abundant in the Wind Cave.

I’ve been thinking again about things I learned on my recent Black Hills vacation.  I do believe I’ve found a small little lesson tucked away in the Wind Cave.  Get ready for some sage advise from one very wise woman…

Do it afraid.  (Stop rationalizing and just do it already!)

Here’s what I mean…

We were visiting Wind Cave National Park in Hot Springs, So. Dak.  I was in the lodge sitting outside the restrooms waiting for my sister when across the room I spotted my mom at the ticket counter purchasing, what I suspected were cave tour tickets.  I had just spent a few minutes perusing the information board about the various cave tours and there was only one tour I could recall any information about…the four hour crawling tour.  Oh no!  As  I rushed to find out what she purchased all I could think was she didn’t, tell me she didn’t!  (I have to point out the ridiculousness of my thoughts here, a four hour crawling tour?  Really?)  The tour tickets she purchased were for the walking tour.  3oo steps down approximately 20 stories with about a half a mile of walking.  Still I felt immediate trepidation.  How tight is the cave?  Would I fit?  300 steps?  Up or down?  Dark?  How dark?  I had 30 minutes of thinking and wondering to do before the tour started.  After a while I decided I needed to distract myself or maybe I’d chicken out, so, I decided to tease Charlie and I told him Mom bought us all tickets for the crawling tour and I was worried about how I was going to crawl around in a cave for four hours.  He provided no distraction as his only response was “Really though, I don’t want to go in there.”  I just had to stop perseverating on this- the tickets had been purchased and I was going.

God timed this perfectly!  If I would have had the chance to discuss this tour with everyone I probably would have begged my way out of it.  And it was the coolest part of the trip (figuratively and literally as it was 58 degrees in the cave!) It was scary, awesome, incredible, amazing, dark, deep, exhausting and exhilarating!  What a blessing I would have missed!  Who cares if I was dripping in sweat by the end of 300 stairs and half a mile walk?  Who cares if I thought I was going to die from exhaustion for an hour after emerging?  Who cares if my body ached for three days?  I went 20 stories down into a cave!  I went into a cavern where I experienced the deepest dark my eyes have never seen!  And, I discovered I am not claustrophobic!

God is so good that sometimes He doesn’t allow us the freedom to wiggle away from challenges that step us out of our comfort zone.  I’m grateful that He knows me so well, so thoroughly, so completely, that He provided me this opportunity that I would have denied myself.

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