Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Tunnel Theory

While on vacation in South Carolina, we went to a historic site where one of the 52 waterfalls in the state was right next to a pre-Civil War railroad tunnel.  Well, actually, it was a cave more than a tunnel.  The tunnel, which was to be a part of a railway line from Charlotte to Cincinnati, was never completed due to the Civil War and then the bankruptcy of South Carolina.  Since the "tunnel" is a historic site we could go into the almost quarter mile cave.  No lights, sounds of dripping and running water, and no clue if we'd come out alive! 

One of us was really frightened to do the adventure walk.  Clutching my arm and almost having to drag said other member of our dynamic duo, we made our way by only our IPhone flashlight. Note: IPhone flashlights are not designed to illuminate such dark tunnels.  We made our way to the end of the "tunnel" and were met  with a big iron gate/door.  I couldn't help myself and had to stick my head in to "see" even though it was pitch black.  Immediately I thought to myself: "this is what horror movies are made of."  I wondered if a zombie, mummy, or some creature would grab me around the neck and slam me into the bars.  I have to admit, a little streak of fear, okay, a big streak of fear pulsed through me.  As I turned around, the said member of our duo was already a fourth of the way out back to the opening.  I could see the light of the opening and her silhouette as she walked.

We both made it out alive...barely. 

Tunnels, are all around.  Some are long and winding, others so short you can see the end before you enter the tunnel.  Literal tunnels amaze me.  How did someone do that?  Figurative tunnels annoy me, they scare me, they challenge me, they cause me not to want to go in them.  Know what I mean?  The times I've discovered I've entered into a tunnel of chaos, conflict, or challenge.  My path on this planet has brought about many "tunnels" that are necessary to go through, but not very pleasant, to say the least.  The best thing about these types of "tunnels" are the exit on the other side.  You know, that relationship, job, assignment, conversation, or waiting that has the blackness of a real tunnel and carries with it the same fear and trepidation I felt in South Carolina.  These tunnels don't seem to have any respect for who we are, what we know, or what we have gone through.  Tunnels of physical pain and suffering, emotional depths of depression, fear of the future, financial ruin, and relational collapse can all feel the same: dark, damp, depressing, and full of fear.

Here are a few thoughts I've had regarding these tunnels.

1. Tunnels are a passageway.  We are not meant to stay in the tunnel.  

2. If I consistently take my next step, I will eventual get through to the other side where there is light and a new location.

3. I am not alone, no matter how lonely I may feel. There is One who has promised never to leave me.

4. The tunnel helps me grow.  I don't walk by what I can see in the tunnel but by the faith I have in the One who is with me.  Believe me, there have been some tunnels that have been pitch black and all I could do was trust the One who was guiding me through.

So, what's your tunnel story?  From a fellow tunnel traveller!


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