Perhaps it was knowing my mother lived for a while on a farm in the 1930's in Centre County where a popular cavern named the Veiled Lady Cave was located. The cave had a short life and then was deemed unsafe due to falling rocks and water which constantly eroded and changed the channel. It was closed to the public.
Perhaps it started on the occasion that my father took us to see the entrance and the first room off on the left, a room glowing, comprised of fools gold. We visited it in the 1950's, the only time we did so even though we lived only four miles away.
By then, I had already explored another historic underground cave many times, the Madisonburg Hole, less than a mile from where I grew up. During the dry season, four or five of us children would take ropes, flashlights, candles and matches along on our decent through the narrow mouth of the vertical entrance leading to the small cave below. A passage of 10 to 15 feet led to a lone room of mud and rock
A few years later the farmer began dumping both vegetable and animal matter into its opening to discourage us from entering into the danger below. There was nothing exciting about the cave except the story of settlers hiding in it for safety. Their leavings, if there were any, had vanished long ago along with the runoff of the heavy rains during the spring and fall which subsequently drained away down a mysterious hole with no bottom.
It was proper during hunting season to sit and listen to stories of the experiences of hunters, the way things used to be and often unexplained things that happened to them as they stalked their game. It was never hard for me to want to believe in the stories and myths connected with the region which had just a tinge of it possibly being true. Perhaps a black panther (had to be a black mountain lion) did use the underground connections to go from one area to another as people reported.
Down deep within each of us is the need to believe in something just beyond our reach. The need to find the wonder and wish we could have been a part of a simpler time or a special place because the romance of the myth has drawn us into itself and we want the impossible to be true, we want to escape and explore it for ourselves.
It's possible that 17 year old Lady Patricia McCochran waited for her love at the entrance of the cave for whom it is named. Patricia was English and she loved Chief Strongheart, who was found dead ( from poisoning himself) in the “Hidden Lake” deep within the cave. They knew Patricia's parents would never let her go with him. I grew up understanding he died because the swift water running into the cave had whisked him into it as he tried to reach her from the other side. Either way, she sits with a veil covering her on a black limestone wall at the caves entrance, waiting.
Through the years musical ballads have been sung to tell stories. Many facts are connected with the songs and the stories I've heard but a lot is left to the imagination.
This is how some people look at the story of Jesus Christ, the widely historically documented, factual story of how God sent his son into the world and the reasoning behind it. But unlike a story or a legend, you can know it is true for yourself.
It happens the moment you believe that God loved you enough to make a way for you to have hope when all around you is the waste land you have lived in or are living in. When we can't shake a habit, loss of a family, can't let go of the past or live in a world of constant relapse, God says yes, yes you can. It isn't about hoping in the impossible, but believing the truth of the Bible that it is possible to obtain a new life. He doesn't erase the past, but he gives us the grace to live with it and a way to move forward and not return to a life of hopelessness.
It's putting a different ending to a story that you reach for but never seem to touch. It's adding chapters to a book you thought had ended. Strangely enough the power to make the necessary changes to give you hope is yours through Christ Jesus when you rely on Him to help you and rest in his instruction, his strength and his power. None, repeat, none of us can do it alone.
Facts are facts. We may have burned so many bridges behind us we have no lumber with which to build. Good. God can work wonders with nothing. Take for instance Earth or perhaps man, the dirt of the Earth. The truth is, there is always something we have that God can start with if we put our faith in him to do it. The Bible is full of these kind of stories.
He thought nothing of using a virgin to have a baby, of putting a harlot in a king's linage, using a reed basket to save a baby, empty containers, a handful of salt, a donkey to talk, etc., etc. And whatever you have, he can use it too!
Like the tunnels that connect one part of a cave to another, God builds a life precept upon precept, one thing at a time. He won't rush you. The more we believe, which is faith in what we can't see, the more wonders he shows us. Once a sure foundation is laid, times may come when the way seems blocked or too difficult to venture further. It's an opportunity to see what happens when you go on in his strength and see what lies ahead just around the bend. Adventure awaits all of us. There are no ifs or maybes in this story because it isn't a romantic legend that may or may not be true. The more you know the more he is willing to show you.
Wanting a better life is grand but perhaps you think your unworthy of such love. God didn't think so, he gave his Son so you can have a way out of the wasteland. What we believe has everything to do with who we become.
I never found the black panther but I did go into other dangerous places in life until one day, I found the only thing that can ever satisfy that craving deep within and discovered all things are possible.
When I began exploring a relationship with the Lord that held me to no standard except believing, no one to be better than than myself and one filled with endless possibilities. I stopped looking in all the wrong places I tried before.
Perhaps as we inter the new year it's a good time to have a real relationship, one with endless possibilities and full of adventure. It is within your reach. You don't have to understand everything or change your personality. Come as you are. Let the romance of how much God loves you advance you to destinations you only dreamed about before.
“...I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.”
He is waiting at your heart's door. Let him fill the emptiness and the constant need for more. He isn't unreachable. Open up and explore what you have been missing and discover where he wants to take you this year.