Street Stories

Weblog of Seattle minister to the homeless Rick Reynolds, Operation Nightwatch

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Location: Seattle, Washington, United States

Caring for human beings seems like the best use of my time, homeless or not.

Friday, November 22, 2019

In the cave

I was at Roman Miller's funeral service yesterday. Very inspirational. A story was told by his brother-in-law.

They were young guys in a group of people who were exploring a cave system in the Ozarks. Roman and his brother-in-law decided to go on, while the others were done. The two were crawling along a tight passage and the brother-in-law got stuck.

At this point in the story, I remembered a similar situation, many years ago, at Craters of the Moon National Monument in southern Idaho. Vast tunnels of cooled lava become interesting caves to explore, At certain points there were "passages" where we could squeeze through, wriggling on our stomachs for an indeterminate distance, and eventually we'd pop out - hopefully -- into a larger space, where we could stand up. I remember being pressed pretty tightly in absolute pitch black darkness. Flashlights were of little use because there frankly wasn't anything to see. My skinny little teenage son was considerably more comfortable than I was at that moment, with my, ahem, barrel chest and middle age waistline.

So Roman and his brother-in-law were in this tight passage, in the dark, only the brother-in law couldn't wriggle his way forward or backward. And Roman was right behind him.

I'm hyperventilating thinking about it.

Roman started pushing on his BIL's feet, and he was able to lever himself ahead with that help. Roman then pulled on the foot to bring himself forward. And so they extricated themselves and stood up in a vast vaulted cavern, a place where the flashlights would matter.

It's a good metaphor for a redemptive life. We don't have perfect sight along the way. We find ourselves stuck at times. But we have the opportunity to spur one-another into a better place.

We need those moments, especially in tough times. With God's help, and the encouragement of others facing the darkness with us, we can stand together in a new and better place. We need each other.


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