Have you ever gone spelunking? You know, it’s that one activity where you enter the cold and dark confines of some cave.
For a lot of individuals, spelunking is what they live for. They love being encased deep inside the earth and seem to adore belly-crawling through muddy tunnels that I didn’t even know it was humanely possible to fit through.
I, on the other hand completely, lack even an ounce of adoration for this dirty, cold, and extremely frightening past time.
I was about eleven years old when I first went spelunking with a geology day camp at the YMCA. At that time in my life, I had a deep fascination with the history of our earth. I simply loved independently exploring the study of seismology and was astounded by the natural beauty of rock formations. So it only made sense for me to attend to a day camp where I would get the ability to go deep into the depths of our amazing planet.
Little did I know though what this spelunking thing all entailed. I thought we were just going to walk around in a huge, expansive cave for an hour or so with the leadership of an experienced tour guide. Well, I could have been more wrong.
When we first got in the cave, it was fairly large and everything seemed to be going according to my plan. But things tudorned south pretty fast. Within the first 10 minutes we entered the cave, we were instructed to slide down a skinny, pitch black tunnel on our bellies in order to get to the next chamber of the cave. As we were forced to make our way through even thinner tunnels nearly completely filled with water, my anxiety began to skyrocket. I felt as if I were trapped and there was no hope of getting out. Throughout the cave experience, tears were streaming down the face and I remember begging the counselors to find a way to get me out. They of course, attempted to comfort me but informed me that we had to keep going if I longed to see the daylight once again.
Of course we eventually got out, though it seemed like an eternity before I was able to feel the warm beams of the sun touch my mud-covered face. That very day I vowed to never go in a cave again . . . EVER. Unfortunately, though I think I broke that vow without even realizing it.
For the past few years life hasn’t been easy and I can’t help but feel like I am trapped in that cave once more. This time though, I am completely alone. I have no counselors by my side, reassuring me that this cave will not be the site of my grave or other enthusiastic campers encouraging me to keep going. It’s just me and my headlight trying to navigate through the complex maze of winding tunnels.
All I want is to see the sunlight again and have a REAL smile on my face, not one of those fake ones I put on just to make others think I am not dying inside. For goodness sake, I just long to be happy again. I don’t remember what it’s like anymore .. . . . . I really don’t.