Stop #12: Springfield, MO
Highlights from Springfield:
1. Fantastic Caverns
Our day in Springfield was mostly spent touring the aptly named caves of Fantastic Caverns.
Have you ever experienced cave darkness? I hadn't. It's different than any other type of darkness I'd ever experienced. At one point deep within the cave, the tour guide turned off all of the lights. He flipped the switch back on after only a few seconds, but that was long enough to realize this: total and complete darkness is super eerie. It's thick and murky and weirdly depressing...and that was after only a few seconds.
At another point later on in the tour, the guide turned off the electric lights and lit a candle to demonstrate how the early cave explorers would have seen the cave. These moments (quick and sudden changes from darkness to light) really stuck out to me for a couple reasons. First, it was quite terrifying to realize all of the ways the caves could have killed me had I tried to navigate them in darkness. Spelunkers must be brave individuals. Second, the Bible has quite a lot to say about darkness and light. So, the caves opened the door to some good conversations with the kids. At a minimum, it was a great way to let them physically experience what we believe to be a spiritual reality: letting darkness into their lives (even if it's a "What's the big deal, everybody's doing it?" type of darkness) makes the world around them far more treacherous.
(Photo above is from the Fantastic Caverns website)
As we exited the caverns, we saw a large, traditionally dressed Amish family. I was reminded of the tragic loss of our delicious, locally grown Amish food (read about that tragedy here if you missed it: https://www.strugglebustour.com/santa-claus). The mere fact that I included this detail in this post should tell you just how tasty that food was.
2. This ladybug
Why does a ladybug make the highlight reel of our time in Springfield? Because, for our four-year-old, finding this little ladybug crawling on his arm was apparently the highlight of his time here...and possibly of his life. I think he loved that little ladybug more than his siblings. The poor bug was almost literally loved to death.
3. Struggle Bus marketing
Before leaving Springfield, we dropped off some Struggle Bus books at little bookstore, ABC Books. We also put copies of my books on the windows of a couple other 15-passenger vans in the Fantastic Caverns parking lot. This is how real authors promote their books, right? I bet Max Lucado drives around parking lots in his free time, looks for cars with Christian bumper stickers on them, and slaps copies of Anxious for Nothing on their windshields. If not, feel free to copy my marketing techniques, Lucado. Thank me later.
4. Frosted glass bathroom doors
Whoever designed the bathroom doors in our hotel clearly never had children. Using the bathroom in our hotel room was awkward.
On to the next stop: Fayetteville, AR.