4 1/2 months ago, I visited Carlsbad Caverns for the first time while on our family road trip to the Grand Canyon.
Carlsbad Caverns was kind of the antithesis of the Grand Canyon. The GRAND Canyon? Nobody misses that. You can't go through that part of the country whether by covered wagon or jet plane and miss the fact that there's a HUGE canyon there. You just can't. I mean, you can see it from space, right??
But Carlsbad Caverns is so out of the way, out in the middle of nowhere, barely accessible by modern roads (okay, I exaggerate) that you could completely miss it. The most you would have seen (before they built it up as a national monument, that is) was a yawning hole in the side of the earth and you maybe would have thought to yourself, "wow, that's a neat looking cave."
But go down inside and it's a completely different world down there. And pitch black, if not for the modern miracle of electricity.
|Looking back towards the mouth of the cavern ...|
|It seemed to stretch for miles...|
|I think this one looks like a blob monster with scary baleen-like whale "teeth"|
I thought I had seen a fair amount in this life, but then I ventured beneath the surface and saw this...
All of it had been down there for thousands of years - and you would never know it just standing on top of the mundane desert landscape. Before anyone came along with electricity to see it, only God knew it was there...
|Rock of Ages formation|
It was beautiful, but it was also overwhelming. It was so incredibly vast down there, intricate in detail and imposing - unlike anything I had ever seen. I even felt a little frightened at the thought of being down here alone, without the light, and how endlessly lost I would be if that were to happen.
|A rotting ladder left behind decades ago by early explorers of the caverns|
Last month felt a bit like that. Overwhelming, frightening, and it's all from pain doesn't even belong to me. Someone else's cancer diagnosis. Someone else's beloved spouse dying. Someone else's critically ill child. Someone else's serious injury. Someone else's imploding marriage.
|Reminds me of a sword ready to stab someone|
Like the Caverns, it's not anything I haven't heard of before, but seeing it - albeit in others' lives - has been very sobering...and to see it all at once was overwhelming.
|Shards extend from the ceiling in a beautifully frightening display|
And like the Caverns, I was stunned by it. Not by beauty though, but by complexity. Not by wondrous structures, but by destruction. In amazement by how it got there in the first place. How does leukemia happen to a little boy. How does lightning literally strike and destroy a life? How does cancer invade and betray a young mother's goal of nourishing her baby? So much darkness...
|How can these form so close together, yet so different in structure?|
I don't have the answers to those specific questions. I wish I did. One lie I think we tend to believe in life is that everything is supposed to make sense. I don't think it does. Not while this world still has darkness...
The Caverns don't makes any sense to me. What's the point? Water dripped a lot and formed these structures? For what? It does nothing, serves nothing. Not in the dark at least...
But in the light, the wonder is revealed. I would like to think that God was waiting for us to discover light so we could see down there. And I believe that, in the light of eternity, we will finally see what was formerly darkness. We will see what it was all for. But we must wait...