The Land of the Living

Grandson Cadence Pushing the Button to Take Us 500 Feet Underground. Hoover Dam, July, 2011.
Inoculated With Faith
I’ll never be a spelunker. Or a scuba diver. I’d rather remain on the earth’s surface, in the presence of fresh air. I don’t panic when I’m underground, but a faint anxiety wriggles within me like a kitten that’s stumbled into a pillowcase.
So during our recent family vacation, I focused on calming my inner kitten as we undertook to tour the power plant at the Hoover Dam. Driving over from Las Vegas, I prayed for an enjoyable outing and a safe return to sunlight and wide open expanses of Creation. “God,” I asked, “bless this family time. Keep us safe and fill our hearts with love for You and each other. Show us that You’re here with us.”
Rich and I arrived ahead of the kids, who were traveling in their own car. We sat on a bench near the elevator, waiting for them to arrive. 
A moment later, the elevator opened and a group that I took for another three-generation family stepped off. 
This family was not having a fine day at the dam. Grandpa carried a girl of eight or nine in his arms, her long blonde ponytail dangling over his elbow as he cradled her. She sobbed. “It hurts! It hurts!”
The man lay the girl on a nearby bench as Grandma arranged a casino-branded tote bag to cushion the child’s head. She writhed and clutched at her shin. Mom rushed off to the snack bar in search of ice.
I heard the grandmother comforting the little girl:

“Take deep breaths, Honey, one-two-three in. One-two-three out. Just relax…Mom went for ice. Where are you from? What’s your name?”

Suddenly I understood that “Grandma” and “Grandpa” were in fact strangers who had interrupted their pleasant day at the dam to aid an injured little girl, all pink and blonde and teary, and her mother.

Witnessing this act of kindness, I saw Him in the sweet concerned face of the woman, saw that the man’s arms held that child safe and strong as God holds me.

My inner kitten slept peacefully as we toured the engineering marvel.

 Elaine, Rob, and Cadence. 500 Feet Underground and All’s Well. 
As we surfaced, returning to the hot, dry air of the Nevada desert, I felt Him among us.
Cadence and Papa Rich Looking Way, Way Down.

13 I would have despaired unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the LORD
In the land of the living.
14 Wait for the LORD;
Be strong and let your heart take courage;
Yes, wait for the LORD.
Psalm 27:13-14 (NASB)


  1. Lyla Lindquist

    That picture of folks letting themselves be interrupted to step in… That's a beautiful thing. Thanks for noticing it, Sheila. (But then, that's the kind of thing you do…)

    Saw your weariness on FB last evening. And Jesus and I, we talked about a you a little.

    I'm bluffing my way through a quasi-vacation before the onslaught of a short storm tour, and feeling a bit of it in my bones as well. I trust He's giving you what you need.

  2. A Joyful Noise

    These tours are building memories and excursions about history are educational. So happy you could enjoy this with your family. Lovely photos to remember this day.

  3. Lyla,
    Thanks for all of that. I trust He's giving me what I need too, even if I don't see it at the moment.

    Hazel, thanks for your kind words.

  4. I took that Hoover Dam, too — kind of freaked me out!

    And that elderly couple? Oh the sweetness — isn't that wonderful?

  5. Yes, Michelle, it's wonderful 🙂