Jessica Christine Musgrove

Author. Singer. Actress.
My King is a dragon-slayer.

Writers Relate Post #4

Finding Inspiration from God’s Grand Creation: Cave Exploring, Aquarium Adventuring, Theatre Immersing, and Zipline Soaring!

The sun was finally shining, its rays extending warm greetings after two weeks of rain. I packed my small suitcase, each breath drawing me closer to the excitement and relief of escape from the mundane. Like Belle in Beauty and the Beast, my heart longed for adventure in the great wide. And it was time! Time to leave behind home for new exploration. I slid into the backseat of the car, tranquility showering over me as my parents sat in the front. A weekend getaway with my parents—a mini-vacation—is something we haven’t experienced together in over a decade. Just us three—the Three Musketeers!

First stop: Berryville, AR. Cosmic Cavern. After driving down stretches of highway and winding roads surrounded by a forest of trees and high hills of luscious green, we parked at the Cosmic Cavern gift shop, a rustic store filled with precious rocks and stones and quirky earrings. An upbeat tour guide took us down the stone stairs into the cavern’s world. The rusted railings felt cold and slimy and rough. I took slow, careful steps on the uneven rock. The air was moist because of the water running through the cave and leaking from parts of the rock, raining down cave kisses on my head. I made my body smaller as the cave slurped me through a few tight tunnels, giving off the aroma of clay, reminding me that getting a little dirty and muddy at times is good for the soul. My smooth hair frizzed, and my body felt chillier the deeper we spelunked, but my heart was glad. The stalactites were the fangs of a monster. In the Ghost Room, a tunnel with a downward slope was a dragon’s tongue, and suddenly, I had been swallowed inside a monster’s belly. The fault line up above was like the dragon’s windpipe. A stretch of light brown rock with a leathery appearance was the dragon’s wing. The waters down below, hiding an entire room sixty feet below, was the monster’s digestive system, and…no, thank you to that! Except, I did romanticize canoeing down the stream. On the rock walls I wasn’t allowed to touch, I half-expected to find an amethyst thorn growing from a section of the wall, begging me to prick my finger so a ruby portal could appear and sweep me away to my own fantasy world, a realm of wood-carving gnomes and other fairytale creatures.

My body reached the top of the cavern again to reveal sunlight. I am most certain, however, that part of my heart is still wandering the underground and will never return.

Next stop: Branson, Missouri! A world filled with music and theatre and more realms to explore. Like Aquarium on the Boardwalk. Ah, sealife. Another underground realm that will always fascinate me and will never be fully understood. Rooms of saltwater surrounded me, keeping me separate from the fish by walls of glass. How I desired to dance and shimmy through the waters with as much grace as they did!

I wanted to be his friend, but I don’t think he wanted to be mine!

The Song of the Jellyfish was both haunting and exhilarating—Their world was a funhouse of mirrors, glowing lights, and tentacles!

I could have made a pallet on the floor and let the ballet of sea life lull me into a deep, precious sleep. But it was time to go sleep in a hotel bed, recharging for what the next day held.

The Next Morning: I and my family arose early. I slipped on a yellow sundress, fitting attire for the cheerful atmosphere my mom and I would soon enter. We parked at Sight and Sound Theatre. We were welcomed with smiles. We found our seats. The theatre darkened, but the curtains opened to reveal stage lights, the swell of music, the exquisite set, and live animals—all of which transported us to the past—To the time in which Jesus’ public ministry took place. My heart was squeezed by the cry of Mary, when she saw the remains of her son after His death on the cross and wanted nothing more than to go back to the night of Jesus’ birth, cradling her baby underneath the bright Star of Bethlehem and singing Him a lullaby—A night when all was calm. My spirit clapped and wept when the angel flew down from the sky and rolled the tombstone away and Jesus walked victoriously from His grave! Jesus lived a human life for me. He died for me. He became sin for me. He rose for me. He LOVED me! And He still loves me, for, as Nicodemus came to understand, He is Love.

I was swept away into the realm of theatre, one of my favorite realms to visit! When actors and set designers have the ability to make a crowd forget where they are sitting and transport them on a journey through storytelling, it is always amazing. I will always love being in the audience or on the stage as part of the story!

A familiar sadness struck as I left the theatre, knowing that theatre can truly only live in the present moment. BUT the Gospel lives on forever in my heart, and the reminder that Jesus loved me enough to die and conquer death and take my place is still fresh.

Later, I walked with my family through Downtown Branson. We ate a wonderful dinner. Then, my dad and I became birds. No, really! After all the underground exploration, we soared high in the air, overlooking, a fountain of bursting water, a highway of cars, and rustic cabins. We ziplined over it all, feeling the jolt as we came to a stop but ever-smiling, ever-laughing, ever-hollering our cheer of “Whoohoo”!! The cold air rushing over my face and hair took my breath away, but it was worth it.

Oh, was it ever worth it!

Exploring my way through a monster’s belly, singing the Song of the Jellyfish, time traveling along with the actors at Sight and Sound, soaring in the sky with delight—These are treasured memories. This was a grand adventure. And spending it with the two most wonderful parents, parents who continually point me to Christ through their love and actions, parents who have supported my artistic endeavors while always being truthful and urging me to surrender my heart, surrender everything to the Creator/Master Artist… Words cannot describe the gratitude I feel.

God’s creation is breathtaking! And you cannot convince me that the many species of birds and fish and type of rock and minerals and luscious green hills and forests and sea water and fresh water and sunlight and rain and heat and cold and all the flowers that sprout from the soil in their season just came about by chance. While I am drawn to fantasy lands, like Narnia and the Shire and my own realm, Ezra City, the inspiration I receive in my own writing comes from the Creator who formed such complexities, like the human body, like DNA, like caves, like the ocean floor. In His gigantic world, I am nothing but a speck of dust, but He has seen it fit to include me in His play. He has seen it fit to provide me such a wonderful family. He has seen it fit to allow me to write and sing and act, to create beautiful things that still will never compare to the work of His hands. He has been with me every step of the way.

He is with you, too. Will you trust Him? With your story, with your song, with your play, with your instrument, with your photography, with your painting, with your audition, with your whole heart—Will you trust Him? Will you trust His timing, His shaping, His words of wisdom, His plan?

I’m thankful to have had a grand adventure, but you don’t need it. You don’t need it to be inspired . I didn’t need to see the cave or the aquarium or even “Jesus” at Sight and Sound. …All I need is Him. All I need is Grace. All He asks me to do is worship Him in all things.

“Therefore, I will celebrate before the Lord.” – II Samuel 6:21

I am home now, sitting on the back porch. The sun’s rays are still extending warm salutations, and the birds are visiting the porch’s ledge for bird seed. So the adventure of life continues, and my hand itches to pick up a pen and explore the characters of Ezra City. …Did you see that? I think I found another portal to open!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Sign Up for My Author Newsletter

You’ll receive a FREE copy of the Prologue of Evergreen and the Silver Tree when you sign up!