I woke up early thinking about tunnels and how there is always light at the end of a tunnel, evidently I had been dreaming about them. This picture was in my mind and I knew it was from an album I made of a trip in 1975, and I had to get up and find it. My coffee and I spent several hours looking at the pictures and shedding happy tears remembering when I took my parents to visit Washington, D. C.
We drove the Skyline Drive in Virginia and the trees were in glorious October color—after the first seven tunnels carved their way through the mountains we quit counting. Each tunnel was different, some twisted through the mountain, others like the picture went straight through, and all varied in length.
Later in that trip we had the experience of a very different tunnel. It was the 17-mile long Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel connecting Virginia Beach and Cape Charles, Virginia. When we started driving onto the bridge it felt like we were driving into the ocean, after about three miles the bridge dipped and disappeared under the sea into the first of the tunnels. It’s a very eerie feeling, the tunnel is well lit, but you know you are under the ocean and you can hear the roar. It comes up about midway and there’s a restaurant, gift shop, view points, and a fishing pier. After spending time there, we got back in the car and drove the rest of the way; you have no choice at that point because it is the only way to get back to land. There were two more tunnels and lots of low level bridges before we reached the other side.
The one consistent thing about tunnels is they all came into the light at the end. It doesn’t matter if they have blasted through a mountain or gone under the ocean; it doesn’t matter how long or short they are, what matters is that the light is always there.
Now you know my mind works in strange ways and I began to see that we all go through different tunnels in our lifetime. The so-called Texas winter of 2016-17 was one such tunnel for me, it never really got cold and allergies ran rampant from October to April. The dreaded pollen kept me down and out, and I backed out of nearly all my activities. However, there was light at the end—at long last my allergies seem to be under control.
I’m remembering many other tunnels in my life, times of day-to-day boring activities, times of taking care of a very sick loved one, and times of grief when I couldn’t see the light. I’m thinking you might be remembering a few tunnels you have gone through, too.
The thing is—the light was always there if I looked for it. The light of the world came wrapped in human form more than 2000 years ago. This little baby who was born in a manager grew up and took on himself the sins of the world when he died on a cross, but the light didn’t stay out. He defeated death and forever brought light to this world when He rose three days later.
He became the light for me at the end of a long tunnel of grief years ago. This tunnel began in 1977 when my first husband died. Bill and I met at thirteen and when he died, my world shook, my security was gone, and I didn’t seem to fit anywhere. I began searching for what I called peace of mind. My search came to a climax in a restaurant parking lot when in desperation I threw up my arms and cried out to God “I give up, do with me what you will.” I’m sure people were staring at the crazy woman talking to herself, and yes, I was crazy—I had reached the end, I could not go on alone.
The Light was waiting for me at the end of that tunnel and the Lord showered His peace over me. As time passed I found that sorrow and grief burned up a lot of unnecessary things in my life, however, it also brought gifts. One gift it presented me with was my self. It showed me who I was in Christ, and I began to realize what it meant to be a child of the Living God.
After my mom, dad and I drove under the ocean through that long Chesapeake Bay Tunnel and came out on Virginia Beach, we stopped to view the waves. My dad promptly got out of the car and walked to the edge of the water. He bent down and rolled his pants legs up and went wading.
“Now, I’ve seen everything,” he said, “I didn’t think I’d ever see the ocean, much less get to walk in it.”
I don’t know if you can see the grin on my dad’s face but it was a big one, and mine was too. Seeing my dad’s face light up with joy made the long drive through that dark tunnel was so worth it—what a special gift that was.
Tunnels—they show up in many different ways, its part of life and they are not all easy ones and we struggle to reach the light. What we have to remember is that the Light of the World is with us even in the tunnels…and that is what makes the darkness disappear.
When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said,
“I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” –John 8:12