I’ve never been a fan of tunnels, but I especially used to dislike bridges. I guess that time when I was a little girl, & my Pa-pa Lehman somehow stopped on the wrong side of the arm that used to come down when they raised the old drawbridge heading into Decatur may have had something to do with that. I doubt that we were in any real danger, but my childish mind somehow thought that little caution arm would save us from plummeting into the icy cold river, which is also probably untrue. 

In later years, I’ve overcome my fear of bridges over water, & was so proud of myself for calmly driving across Mobile Bay a couple of days ago, enjoying the scenery & singing along to the radio instead of coasting across it in fear. Instead of fearing the worst, I sailed along & admired the view. No need to agonize over something that may never happen. 

But last night was a different story!! An intense thunderstorm hit as I was approaching the bridge. Extremely heavy rain & blinding lightning strikes caused me, along with the other hapless travellers, to slow to a turtle’s pace as I placed a white-knuckked death grip upon the steering wheel & prayed for safe passage.

When a lightning strike hit much too close for comfort, I saw the sign indicating the tunnel was just ahead. Now, I’m no claustrophobic, & don’t have a fear of caves or tunnels – I just prefer to see the sunsets, clouds, birds & seashore by being above ground. Yet, oh, how very thankful I was in that dark & terrifying storm, to enter that tunnel, whose end was not visible from its beginning, because it offered me a break & a temporary reprieve. Inside that tunnel, it was all that I could see – the tunnel itself. Yet it insulated me from worse things outside that I could not see. I wasn’t happy in the tunnel, because I wanted to see the moon, the stars, & the city lights reflecting off of the brackish bay waters. But I was safe. I could breathe, & temporarily release my death grip. 

All that I had to do was focus on the road which spread out directly in front of me. And I thought about the figurative tunnels I’ve found myself in over the years. Times when I couldn’t see the light at the other end. When I desperately wanted to break free, so I could do & see & be with the rest of the world. When I desperately wanted to escape isolation. Perhaps, just maybe, in those dark nights of my soul God provided me those tunnels to escape the raging storms. 

Do you feel confined & constricted in your life? As if you’re in a tunnel, which seems endless? Hold fast to your faith, for you will make it out. Just keep your eyes focused on the stretch of road immediately ahead of you. Give thanks for the tunnel, for it may be an unknown refuge, protecting you from a bigger storm. 

– Lou Lehman Sams