You’ve heard the phrase “light at the end of the tunnel”, right? It’s likely we’ve all applied it to something in our lives. Whether a long, tedious project, a tumultuous life event, mental or physical illness, “the light at the end of the tunnel” means we begin to believe we will ‘get there’, we will survive the ordeal. There’s certainly a measure of gratitude implied, too. “It’s almost over! It’s going to be alright ……….. Whew, I MADE IT.”
This photo, posted on Broken Light: a Photography Collective, exactly — I mean: EXACTLY – captures a feeling we’ve evidently both gone through – (This poster’s issue is agoraphobia, mine was depression.)
So, the phrase also reveals that the journey-of-whatever-kind can be quite long, & difficult ……… & sometimes veryvery frightening. Sometimes, as in the times I would fall over into the dark, sucking pit of depression, the worst part of it — even when I was certain I was going to make it through — was not knowing how long it would last. The tunnel screams: Endurance!
In a way, “the light at the end of the tunnel” is a darkly humorous affirmation — it says that the tunneler knows on some level that there’s the possibility of NOT making it all the way through the trying, difficult experience. Implication: There’s no guarantee. We’ve probably all also the heard the joke: “I saw the light at the end of the tunnel – it was a train coming toward me!!” So, we recognize somewhere within ourselves that survival is not always a given. In the case of a grueling workload facing an impending deadline, not reaching the end of the tunnel might mean failure. In episodes of mental illness, or disease process, being trapped within that tunnel might mean death. In any case, we want to reach the end, light or no light!! We seek the end of the travail. Unless we’re in the Tunnel of Love, then we just want to drift there, cozily, haha.
Hmmmmm. It occurs to me that a child, while still in the birth canal might see being born the same way: “reaching the light at the end of the tunnel”. I mean, most mothers in labor have someone with them, & that would almost always imply having some light source available. In the modern age, this would be a lamp or overhead light fixture. In ‘olden days’ it might have meant a handheld lantern. But for almost every baby being born, they would ‘see’ “that light at the end of the tunnel”, however many hours away it might be. I’m really curious about the consciousness of that about-to-be-birthed child: darkly humourous, grateful, committed to endure ….……. ??
And, ALSO, those who claim to have experienced a near-death experience often use a similar description: moving through a long tunnel, with a glorious light at the end. Hmmmm ……..
So, traversing that tunnel means not just the anticipated end of something, with gritted teeth, or joyful celebration. It can mean — ta da! — the beginning of something too — a new era, renewed life, or a different way of living. I guess ‘coming out the other side’ of that tunnel means not just over, done, fini, whew! It also means: new, starting over again, “I’m here!!”
What kind of tunnel have YOU had to travel through lately??