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By simplyfaithful
July 21, 2013 11:15 a.m.



photo

Even the drive to Meramec Caverns in the Ozarks was beautiful.

The main route was lined with trees that stretched over like canopy after green-leafed canopy.

Light danced on a tiny river to the left, the one that looked too small and sleepy to have cut through rock and soil and created a whole new world beneath the ground.

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The boys unfolded themselves and poured out of the van, anxious for adventure.

Stay with me at all times, our tour guide told us. I’ll be turning lights on and off as we go, and I don’t want people left in the dark.

And so we began the easy, less intimidating part of the tour.

Larger rooms, lots of light. A bit of running water. A marker to show where Lassie had been filmed. A silhouette of outlaw Jesse James and one of his sidekicks.

Then, shorter ceilings. Less light. More guide-yourself-by-using-the-handrails, and finally a cul de sac where the group pooled to hear the guide.

The lights came on, and we were surrounded by stalactites and stalagmites.

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We saw the occasional column where the two had met and melded their colors of rust and orange and dripping beige.

I drew in a quick breath, and I stopped listening to the tour guide.

This is what we’d been walking through in the dark.

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These designs, hand painted by a loving and creative God, were inches away from the handrail.

They were just unseen until the tour guide flipped on the light.

Now remember the water in here is no more than 18 inches at its deepest point, the tour guide said, but when we round this corner it will look much deeper because of the reflection.

It is just an optical illusion, so don’t be afraid.

The tour guide was right.

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I could have sworn there was a deep canyon beneath the calm waters on the other side of the rail.

Apparently Benjamin thought so, too, because he moved his 5-year-old self away from the edge and to the middle of the walkway until the light shifted. Then he saw the truth, that the water he had been so afraid of would have barely covered his ankles.

And his mama got a glimpse of the truth, too.

Sometimes beauty and blessings — and even safety — are closer than I think.

phonto-1

 

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