The imagery of the light at the end of the tunnel is very powerful for me—I am claustrophobic, and therefore, hate tunnels! Over the years of living in Northern Virginia, I have had to drive to New York City on many occasions, and sometimes alone. This requires going both there and back through the Baltimore Tunnel as well as the Holland or Lincoln Tunnel. Fortunately, my phobia has not prevented me from making the trips, but that doesn’t mean the journeys are without anxiety or fear. To minimize my stress, I plan the timing of my trips to avoid heavily trafficked times. And then most importantly, whether I am a passenger or the driver, I pray without ceasing! My eyes are ahead, longing for the light at the end of the tunnel.
But last week one of my greatest fears came to pass—bumper to bumper traffic entering NYC. I quickly turned on my navigation app to see if I could avoid the tunnel by choosing the George Washington Bridge, but that would have added time to the trip and taken us too far beyond our main route. I had no option. I was driving, my daughter and her ten-month-old were in the back seat, and my son-in-law was up front with me. As we entered the tunnel, tears formed in my eyes. I knew I had to do this without panicking—I had the responsibility of getting us safely to the other side. They were very aware of my fear, and so they immediately began to distract me. It worked. The time passed, and I even found myself laughing at one point, until I finally saw the light at the end of the tunnel and I relaxed for real.
I could cite many spiritual analogies about the darkness of the tunnels we often must go through, and how the light is our eternal hope. But, for me the lesson this time was more simple: it is better to traverse the darkness with others. Whatever we are going through, God intends for other believers to make the journey with us—encouraging, comforting, and listening to our fears even if they may seem irrational. They help us see the light and the hope that waits for us, and we are called to do the same for others.
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.” 2 Corinthians 1:3-4
“Rejoice with those who rejoice, week with those who weep.” Romans 12:15