Light at the end of the tunnel

There is light at the end of every tunnel. Keep moving. All you need is a little faith.

At first I saw only blackness; the deepest darkest blackness one only experiences in nightmares. Standing blindly, on the edge of the precipice of a bottomless cavern echoing back my anguished cries, I was both fearful and yet tempted to step off into the abyss. But something…someone…restrained me. Months passed in this emotional blindness with one half of me on that edge, and the other stepping over. I suppose, reflecting on this, I wanted there to be only blackness without a future and a hope, because no future seemed worthwhile without Scott in it. The blindness continued, but as I furtively stepped forward into it, my feet continued to connect with solid ground. I walked on. How? Why? I don’t really know. But my groping hands, outstretched before me, propelled me on further into it. The long, dark tunnel seemed to stretch on forever. But somewhere along the way, black became charcoal, and then charcoal became gray. Something in my deep intuition sensed that morning was impending. Even though I could not concretely grasp any clear evidence of the dawn, it was there. In the breath of the still, the position of the stars in the waning night, the hushing of the cicada and the cricket, all waiting for something…the first hints of the birth of a new day. Into this gray mist I found myself walking, now clutching the little trembling hands of our three littlest girls. Certainly not equal to the task, I walked on anyway, propelled forward by a strength and force of which I was not keenly cognizant. I began to feel what can only be described as momentum to move forward, though I was not yet willing to acknowledge that this motion was into a future. Perhaps it was survival. I kept walking on and began to emerge into an early dawn. Dew dripped on green petals, buds began to form on verdant branches, birds began to chirp tentatively. And I knew that, no matter how much I did not want it, a new day had begun.

I had no intention of buying a home. Certainly not in this costly Pacific Northwest market. Certainly not with very little income. Certainly not before my homes in Florida could sell. Yet here I found myself looking at a pretty, little house down a hidden driveway, perched on a hillside overlooking Lake Stevens with the backdrop of snow-capped mountains and stunning Mount Pilchuck. It was all wrong. The master bedroom was upstairs and I wasn’t good at stairs. Then there was the main floor—configured oddly but with that pretty view that grabbed and mesmerized me. Yet another set of stairs down to the basement with its little living area, bed and bath, but again…that view. I stood in the driveway, contemplating the pros and cons. It would keep me in one place, thus assuring for the girls a more secure future. Gypsy blood had always flowed in my veins, I know not why, and I wasn’t truly convinced that settling down in one place was essential for us, but rather, being together. Then I recalled how different we all are as human beings, some being wanderers, while others stay put in the same location, and sometimes even the same house, for generations. As I pondered, a man approached me from the house next door; the only other house down our little alcove; the two of them perched side by side on that hill appreciating the view. His smile lit up his whole face, and his eyes twinkled with an irrepressible joy. His gregarious greeting couldn’t help but bring a smile to these lips that had forgotten how to turn up at the edges.  Then I noticed the little gold cross on his fine suit lapel. It sparkled in the unusually sunny afternoon light and spoke to me of hope. His warm and sincere greeting touched my broken heart and I heard the name above all names on his lips. Jesus. He was saying how he had been praying for whoever his new neighbors would be. I asked, “Are you a believer?” He laughed his deep, rumbling laugh and said that, indeed, he was a follower of Jesus Christ. I told him we were as well, and then he confessed that he had been praying for Christians to move in. He was an Iranian pastor who had come to the U.S. some years ago as a refugee, smuggled out of his country in the dead of night at risk of death. He and his wife had been imprisoned numerous times for their translation of the Bible into Farsi, and disseminating Bibles throughout their country, holding Bible studies and worship meetings. Now they hoped that, together—their new neighbors, if believers—could work with them to win those around them for Christ. 

The home had been purchased two times before, within days of it being built and listed, as is the case in this area. And the week of closing, both deals had fallen through. Then I came along that day, and knew God had saved that house for us; to live and work beside this brave Iranian-American Christian family. I knew they would help this physically and emotionally broken widow and her fledgling three daughters. I put in an offer and it was accepted. So now we shall stay here for as long as the girls are still children, and for as long as the Lord sees fit to keep me on earth. I know not how I could buy a house in my current financial situation. And, yet, I know that if the Lord wanted this for us, He would bring it about. I still don’t want to stay. I still don’t want to move into this future, no matter how clearly it is laid out before me. I still want to wallow in my private pain breaking into those hiccuping sobs even looking at his wallet and driver’s license. I wish every day and night, as I open my eyes every morning, and close them with another sunset, that he was here with me. That aching pain, like a knife lodged forever in my heart, is still deeply embedded, but it now has tissue growing up around it. The gate to my broken spirit, still swings inward, scraping the ground where the hinges are rusted and displaced. And yet, it too has morning glory vines beginning to encompass in and soften the harshness and sadness of that entry. It will remain broken. No amount of ivy can repair its cracked hinges and splintered wood facade. And yet, it will not crumble, providing some degree of protection from the onslaughts of life.  

We stepped into that future.

4 thoughts on “Light at the end of the tunnel

  1. Juanita Bunch

    Reminds me of the song “morning has broken, like the first morning…” God in his mercy surrounds us with angels and saints to uphold us until we can be the angels and saints for others…… Love to you…


  2. Mary Hsu

    Oh Jane,
    Your writing continues to be so gut-wrenching to read. I can’t even imagine writing it. I am so glad your Gypsy soul found such a lovely place to try to put down roots. You are doing remarkably well, even if you can’t see it yet yourself. Scott is so proud of you, I am sure. I know I said this before, but you will never “get over this”, but you will get through it. And you are! I pray that one day your daughters will gain some understanding of the monumental task you are left to undertake alone. I hadn’t heard the details of your finding the house, clearly God is in the details. You have a wonderful neighbor I hope the girls get to go to school in the fall, so they can make friends. And find new activities. We continue to hold you up in prayer, and for just enough light for the coming day. Love you!


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