The road to hell is paved with “Hey! I’ve got a great idea!”
– A Fraggle original…maybe…
Many years ago, I was on a youth camp where one of the activities was caving. It was a thoroughly enjoyable experience as I recall, except for one particular moment, when while crawling on my belly through a rather narrow tunnel, my helmet became jammed between the floor and the ceiling. I couldn’t work out how to go either forwards or backwards, or even turn my head. I started to wonder how long I would be stuck there or how I could possibly be freed. Thankfully, that didn’t last too long, as the helmet managed to unjam itself relatively quickly. I got the dickens out of there and didn’t think much more of it.
Except I do. In fact, it is the only thing I really remember of that caving trip, and I feel panic whenever I think of it. It is to me a reminder, that it is quite possible to get yourself into situations that you have no means of escaping, where you lose all control. I hate the feeling that comes with this particular memory.
When the opportunity arose, then, to go caving as part of a Singles event this past weekend, I knew I had to take it. Right at the start, I have to say I started to think maybe it was a bad idea. I was very tentative and felt all the nervousness of my memory returning. After moving on to the next cave, though, I started to get bolder and very quickly got into the swing of things.
Just before the final cave exit was an especially narrow segment and the guide expressed doubt that I would fit. After being given instructions on how to tell whether I would fit by the comfort of the approach, I entered the segment. The approach turned out to be trivial, and so emboldened by that and the doable appearance of the tighest spot, pressed on.
As it was, not much of any concern happened. I felt the ceiling brush the back of my boiler suit, but that was it. Mission accomplished.
When I got back that night, I reflected on a job well done…and on how it was a good job the tunnel was a wide as I thought it was….and on how it would have been a nightmare to get to me if I had been wrong….