2.05.2011

The Light in the Middle of the Tunnel

Wes was recently recounting his past trips to Iceland. He marveled at the roads and methods of travel throughout the country. He described immense tunnels, boring miles into the earth, through the great mountains of untamed landscapes. Traveling through the belly of those sleeping giants was often long and lonely. Interspersed with lights to guide a driver through the quiet depths, there was no seeing the light at the end for a very long while, sometimes 30+ minutes at a time.

I tried to imagine what it might feel like to be planted surely in the middle of one of those tunnels, with no end in literal sight. Claustrophobic? Probably. Anxiety? Definitely! But Wes related the experience with only wonder and even respect. He marveled at the sheer ability to carve out a great path through the landscape, unseen by the outside world. I asked how he was able to travel through the black distance and still feel safe on those two-lane roads. "Oh, there are lights every so often." "How often?" I asked, a little doubtful. "You have to rely a lot on headlights." But then sure enough, just when it started feeling just a little too dark, another light in the tunnel would appear overhead.
 I'm in one of those tunnels right now. I don't think I'm the only one. And like a lot of our tunnels, it's not always apparent to the outside world. Still, we're motoring right along, a destination in mind, but not yet in sight. Actually, in our case we chose to drive into the tunnel. Anticipated it, even. We planned the trip, mapped it out as best we could, and headed out, realizing it might not be clear along the way. But we trusted, just the same.

So what do we do when we can't see the light at the end of the tunnel? Our own headlights are only going to get us part of the way there. We need the light in the middle of the tunnel.

As a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints we have these things called The Articles of Faith. There are 13 of them. And while I am far from knowing them by heart, parts of them often pop into my head, especially mid-tunnel. Right now it's the last article, lucky #13:

"We believe in being honest, true, chaste, benevolent, virtuous, and in doing good to all men; indeed, we may say that we follow the admonition of Paul—We believe all things, we hope all things, we have endured many things, and hope to be able to endure all things. If there is anything virtuous, lovely, or of good report or praiseworthy, we seek after these things." 


I think it's the "we hope all things" that keeps persisting. Faith and hope are part of the same whole, are they not?  Faith is to hope for things which are not seen, but which are true. And it's what makes it possible to do the endurance part of that article of faith. Sure, I might be able to make it through the tunnel without the light. But it would take me an awfully long time. I might come out the other end altered, and not for the better. Or I might succumb to despair within the tunnel. Or worse yet, turn back, abandoning and resenting the journey. I unabashedly need the light. It reminds me of THIS hymn:
 The Lord is my light;
He is my joy and my song.
By day and by night he leads,
He leads me along.

I still have a stretch of tunnel ahead of me. I don't know how much more is left. I can't see the mouth ahead, but soon the pinprick of light will start to wink at us. I know this because I hope it—I have faith in it. And while I am waiting, I'll remember that I still have a light with me in the tunnel overhead. And it won't let me down.

 
A similar tunnel in Norway, taken on a 13 second exposure.  



"And whoso receiveth you, there I will be also, for I will go before your face. I will be on your right hand and on your left, and my Spirit shall be in your hearts, and mine angels round about you, to bear you up."

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Theresa said...

Wow, what a photograph!

{april kennedy} said...

Beautifully written, Lyndsay. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and your beliefs. I, too, love the 13th Article of Faith.

And, I might never say again...'the light at the end of the tunnel.' It will always be the middle I seek after now.

dandee said...

You are so wise, Lyndsay. Your way with words always inspires me, as does your testimony of the Gospel. Thank you for sharing your beautifully written words.

Kisses,
Danyelle

anna said...

Beautifully written and true for me and I think for many of your readers wherever we are on life's journey.
Best wishes
A

Crazy Lady said...

i always like the ones that make me think. thanks. the cool thing is that while we don't know the plan, the Savior does. So many times Jason and I have had no clue what to do next and it always works out. Me personally, I have no idea what will happen after June :) This post reminds me of the quote by President Monson, Your future is as bright as your faith. Fitting right?

Senja said...

thank you so much for this post lyndsay, very warm and inspiring.

i think about you often..

much love!
senja

Christy said...

What a wonderful thought and post. Thank you for sharing, and I hope that you're feeling well today. :) And of course, gorgeous photo!

Lee said...

Lyndsay, this was a beautiful post. This made me think back to a little over a year ago, i traveled that long road for 4 years (utah was hard for me, for us.). Looking back my biggest regret is that i was...let's say looking for the light in the middle (or just any light.) I forgot to enjoy the view. It was so easy for me to let so much slip on by without even noticing. It's easier said then done but don't forget to let your head out the window and just enjoy the breeze every once in a while. Thanks for sharing this. You always know how to express yourself so beautifully.

Marilyn said...

Lyndsay,

Your way with words, your talent for writing, is a beautiful gift. But it's your testimony of the gospel, and your faith in Jesus Christ that inspire me the most.

I adore you. Thank you for this post.
We can do hard things.

xoxo,
Marilyn

Robin said...

I couldn't pass by without saying thank you for this today. Being in Primary I feel sometimes I don't always get the spiritual nourishment that I could use each Sunday and although I know that it is my responsibility, I slack. Your post touched me today as I seem to be in a tunnel of my own, as are other mothers that I know.

Tiffany M. said...

Once I had to crawl through this long,tiny tunnel in Israel to get to a pigeon cave. It was so tiny my teacher got stuck. I am claustrophobic and it was the scariest thing I've ever done in my whole life! The only way I got through it was singing hymns.
I'm so glad you quotes the 13th article of faith- it is my very, very favorite.

Barefootlotuss said...

Lovely post. . .thank you for your beautiful writing and insight. xox

Catherine Purves Johnson said...

Great post Lyndsay :) I love #13 too....

crystal b. said...

Lyndsay, I loved this post, so true. And the photo at the end is fabulous.