Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Let's Go Spelunking

I would venture to say that most dreams never acted upon. When it comes right down to it, most of us just don't have the motivation to make a move. Or the courage.

But, on that rare occasion, the dream we had not only becomes a reality, but it becomes much greater than we ever imagined...because we dared to make a move.

One such example is Ruby Falls.

OK, before I go on, let me say a couple things. I have always thought that Ruby Falls sounded pretty cheesy. I went there as a kid about 25 years ago, and I remember very little about that excursion. I mean, you see the signs everywhere, and the painted barns and homemade signs covering the Southeast have likely drawn more conversation than the a
ttraction itself.

But, Amy and I took the kids up there last Friday for one final family getaway before school started. And, I will say that the discovery of Ruby Falls is nothing short of a miracle. A miracle that required action on someone's part.

That someone was named Leo Lambert. As a kid, Leo and his buddies would play in the caves, nooks, and crannies at the base of Lookout Mountain. But, in the early 1900's, a railroad tunnel was built along the base of Lookout Mountain, along the Tennessee River, and the natural entrance to the caves was closed up.

In 1923, as an adult, Lambert, and a group of investors
, purchased the land on the end of Lookout Mountain in hopes of reopening the caves to the public. Five years later, while excavating an elevator shaft, and opening in the rock was discovered about 260 feet down into the mountain.

For the next 17 hours, Lambert and a small crew of his men explored the new cave they had discovered, the crown jewel being the 145-foot waterfall located deep in the heart of the mountain that would ultimately be the main draw for the Chattanooga area for decades to c
ome. What you may not know is that after discovering the void in the rock, Lambert spent the next six hours crawling on his belly in almost complete darkness in a space only 18 inches high and five feet wide. It was at this point that he was first able to stand to his feet, and it was still another several hundred feet before he discovered the now-famous Ruby Falls (named for his wife, Ruby).

The story behind the famous landmark is perhaps more remarkable than the landmark itself. And, that's how it usually is. It takes a lot of effort, a lot of passion, and a team of inspired supporters to bring a vision to reality.

Just like Leo Lambert, there are thousands of us today with a dream we hope to achieve. Some are humble, and some are extravagant. But, they are equally important to the dreamer.

You may not have to crawl on your stomach in a rocky cave in tight quarters for six hours to achieve the dream God has given you; but, it'll take work, and it'll take heart, and it won't be easy.
But you can do it.

And, like Leo Lambert's, your dream may not be nearly as big as the discovery you make along the way!

1 comment:

Robert said...

My discovery along the way is usually that my humility and tact may not always be what they should be, and that I have to watch out for that.

Fascinating story. I have not been to Ruby Falls since I was a kid either, which appear to be at least 10 - 15 before you did.

My favorite stalagmite was steak and potatos. It is the only one I still remember.