When I wrote this post in November, I was struggling with many things...one being me and who I am versus who I want to be.
Packing for spelunking into the cavernous recesses of one's psyche can be tough.
I had no idea what I might dig up or possibly unearth while sifting through my memory. For those of y'all entertaining the idea of striking out on your own journey, here's a short list of things to throw into your backpack before going down the rabbit hole.
- Don't bother with a flashlight, pack candles instead. Batteries have a tendency to wear out from long periods of use and only throw light at the spot you point them...revealing little except what you would like to see. To excavate properly, you've got to be willing to see the whole cavern and for that you need to take along the truth. It shines like nothing else on earth and lights up the darkest corners. Unless you really want to lug a huge spotlight in your pack, slip in the truth. Believe it or not, it does lighten the load you're carrying, but even then, be prepared to fall into a lot of dark holes. It's part of the adventure. If and when the darkness surrounds you, light a candle and pray. Let the flicker give you hope as you struggle on your way back to the top.
- Same goes for a map. Trust me...I looked before strapping on my boots and found the map for life is written as we live it. Rather than fooling around and wasting time trying to fold your map to look like everyone else...and the frustration that inevitably comes with creating new wrinkles...I highly recommend packing your Bible for guidance. The paths are well laid out, but it's still up to you whether to jig or jag.
- Pack Big Chief tablets and #2 pencils. You're going to be charting a lot of bumpy roads, missteps and detours along the way. Accept you're gonna run into a lot of wrong turns made along the way. The past can't be changed, but it can be rerouted. Just be sure to take along a passel of erasers. You're gonna need them for redirecting your path and for righting mistakes made in the gettin' here from there.
- While this may seem like a crazy thing to pack, throw in a hand mirror...a big one. You won't be using it to check your hair roots, but for checking the root of many of your problems. It isn't always pretty, but for a split second, stare into it, face to face, bruises and all, then stick that mirror back in your knapsack. Lingering too long is fruitless and vain without a willigness to own what is held in the reflection. For me, I know it's there if a reminder is necessary of who I was or where I'd been without turning around or back tracking. There was just too much ground to cover if I wanted to make it out in one
piecepeace. Glancing in my mirror kept me from lingering too long in one place when I needed to move forward.
- Finally, pack a pair of hiking boots and all the stretch pants you own, but don't get too comfortable. You're gonna be stopping a lot to catch your breath and there won't be a lot of easy chairs along the way. 'Course I'd be remiss if I didn't warn you, you may find yourself in the hot seat from time to time. You also need to remember that bats live in caves and with bats comes guano, a heap of it. Be prepared to step in a lot of it, but thankfully, it does wash off. Still... it's gonna get rocky. You''ll need to stay on your toes to keep your footing firm as much as possible when unexpected cracks pop out of nowhere. Know up front, you will stump your toes and get some bumps on the noggin. It's part of the journey, so don't be surprised when you find yourself, like me, falling to your knees...a lot! There will be points in time along the way too low to stand, so tight you can't wiggle your way out and many, many dead ends.
I brought back many souvenirs from my trip and I'll be sharing what I unearthed later. In the meantime, I'll leave you with one other important piece of advice.
Never undertake a dig this important without a partner. There are gonna be moments when you'll cry out for a lifeline to pull you to safety. The last thing you want to hear as the ground starts crumbling around you, is only the echo of your own voice. Echoes from the past can be like quicksand...pulling you farther down. You are gonna hit spots too treacherous to scale alone and more than one time, you are gonna find yourself needing someone to pick you up when you tumble...be it past, present or future.
I highly recommend God as your guide. There is no other to go before you to ease your load and bind the wounds incurred along the way. He has yet to abandon me in the pits of despair nor allow me to wallow in the depths of my self-pity. His strong, loving arms always pulls me to safety. His mighty hands reach down, clasp mine and lead me to higher ground. He is the compass continually pointing me in the direction I need to be heading, be it north, south or points unknown.
~Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.~Psalm 119:105
~He restoreth my soul. He leadeth me to the paths of righteousness for His name's sake.~Psalm 23:3