Sunday, January 6, 2013

From the Hand that Held the Hand that Held the Light

A few years ago, I wrote a meditation on Ruby Falls after visiting the site near Chattanooga. I explored the way Christ's light illuminates the inner caverns of the soul, making dark places a thing of beauty. And I noted how, like the man who discovered Ruby Falls, sometimes you stumble into this dark place that God wants to bless.

I deeply value two letters from the folks of Ruby Falls that I received after I found out it was going to be published and sent them a copy. The first was from one of the managers, who included a quote from Leo Lambert:

"Thank you for sending your blog entry concerning our cave. It was great to read how you felt as you toured our cave. We commonly receive questions about the origin of the cave and field questions concerning the creation of the formations and falls. I as a Christian just enjoy the beauty of the falls and the incredible creation of the cave. Below I have copied the quote by Leo Lambert written after he discovered Ruby Falls. We plan on posting this at our entrance at a ceremony December 30th which will be the 80th anniversary of him finding the cave. Thank you for the inspiring message and hope to see you return some day.

"Discovering Ruby Falls was like discovering God. At first it is very dark, scary and uncertain. You don't know what lies ahead. You bump into things you didn't even realize were there and you suffer injuries bumps and bruises. You fall down into sticky, sticky mud and mire and feel like you cannot go on. But you get up with a feeling that somewhere ahead lies something more wonderful than you could ever imagine. As you add light to what you discovered you find that the things that caused you suffering and injury were wonderful God made things, put there for you to witness and give you joy. It is all and more than you ever imagined you could witness. It is God, and Ruby Falls & the Lookout Mountain Cave are God's creations, made for man to enjoy. I am just a little proud that he used me."

Shortly after that, I got a personal letter from Lambert's granddaughter. I presume the journal entry she refers to is the above quote. I simply love the way she signed it at the end:

“Steve, I just received your Meditation on Ruby Falls. I am Leo Lambert's granddaughter. Last spring I found my grandfather's journal entry on discovering Ruby Falls. It probably wasn't meant to be published. How incredible that your piece was so similar to what he felt discovering Ruby Falls. Banks foreclosed on ‘His Jewel’ during the Great Depression time. Never was he bitter, because God had chosen him to discover a piece HIS Handiwork! He had something that could never be taken from him. He would always tell me ‘Just look at the cave and waterfall God gave to us’ …

“Thank you for expressing again what joys God gives us on our journey! Yesterday, Dec 30, 2008 was the dedication of Grandpa Leo's inscription along with his likeness. He and my grandmother would have been rejoicing, there were grandchildren, great grand children and great great grand children who carry within their hearts love for a man and woman who loved God and lived it!

From the hand that held the hand that held the light that discovered Ruby Falls,

(her name)

To see my original meditation, see Meditation on Ruby Falls.