Passing through Mountains


To pass through a mountain, we have to go through a tunnel.

Recently, I was driving to and from Nashville, Tennessee and I had the joy of driving through the Cherokee National Forest.

It was gorgeous and there were tunnels - lots of them!

As I approached each tunnel, I got nervous for some reason.

I had to come to terms with the fact that I don't like tunnels. I know they present an efficient route through a mountain but, for me, they are dark and scary - unlike the picture I've included above (it's how I like to envision tunnels now).

I realized that when we're in a tunnel, we don't exactly know how long we'll be there - in the dark. We don't know if the road will be straight or filled with twists and turns.

As I drove through the Cherokee Mountains, the tunnels immediately became a metaphor for life's more challenging moments - those moments when we aren't exactly sure what's next - when we need to sit up in the driver's seat and play close attention to what's on the road ahead.

When you enter a tunnel, everything goes dark all of a sudden. You know the tunnel is coming. There are even signs that tell you that there's a tunnel ahead.

"Tunnel ahead." (That one's pretty clear.)

"Take off your sunglasses." (Oh - this is serious business.)

"Turn on your headlights." (Yikes - it's going to be dark.)

"No passing." (OK- time to stay in my lane.)

I inched forward in the driver's seat and gripped the steering wheel a little tighter. My pulse quickened as I took off my sunglasses and looked at the mountain ahead.

There was no pulling over. There was no turning back. I hoped that everyone else on the road was a well-practiced tunnel driver. This Florida native was not.

I knew that the best way to get on the other side of a mountain - is a shortcut through a tunnel. I hate windy roads more than tunnels and, although I know it sounds silly, I actually did wonder about slower alternate routes.

But before I knew it, I had driven into the dark from the light.

There were little flashers on the road giving me some direction but I didn’t really know what was ahead. The lanes were small and the traffic was a fast-moving flash of light.

I tried to relax but I was alone. I lost my radio. I wished I had chosen the right lane where people drove slower and I quietly prayed, “Please let there be light.”

Before I knew it, there it was - a glimmer of light. It came faster and faster. Suddenly, I was slapped with the light. The speed and warmth of it surprised me. I took a deep breath, rolled my shoulders and sat back in my seat again.

I’d be lying if I said that I liked going through tunnels, but the light at the other side is really kind of breathtaking - the light will come. It’s inevitable.

Life's journey can be filled with mountainous climbs, twists and turns - but tunnels give us a shortcut and allow us to pass through mountains.

If your life has you passing through a mountain right now - and if you are speeding up your route via tunnel – know that there is light ahead. Sometimes tunnels are short and sometimes they are long – unless it’s a road you’ve driven before, you don’t really know which kind it's going to be.

We all go through tunnels – it's important to remember to stay forward in your seat. Take a deep breath.Take off your sunglasses. Stay in your lane and focus. Be alert and look for the light ahead. I promise it is there.

The best way to pass through a mountain - is by tunnel.

There is always a light at the end of the tunnel.

© Kathy Sturgis, Ph.D. Kathy is founder of Refreshment Zone and is an organizational and personal development specialist with a doctorate in communication. Contact kathy@refreshmentzone.com for more information on motivational programs.

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