You didn’t know what they meant. You could not understand why you had to. You had no clue how to do it, but it hurt too much to keep staring at that dead end. It hurt even more to wait for it to open up and let you walk on. You waited and wept, wept and waited. But there was only darkness ahead. There was no other way but to turn around.
And so you did…
With just an ounce of strength remaining, you crawled toward the end of the very long and dark tunnel. On your knees, you crawled, and groped through the dark, gasping for a way out. At times, it felt as if you were simply moving onward to get yourself to the edge of a cliff… where you could let go… fall and be thrown off with all the bits and pieces of your broken heart. And how that vision of falling off a cliff appealed to you! How that vision pushed you to crawl on more ardently. There had to be a way out.
But the One who made you crawl out of that very long and dark tunnel led you not to the edge of a cliff, but to where there’s light, sunshine, the sound of the sea, the ringing of church bells, and good people to walk with, learn with, find new hope with.
Fourteen years gone. Fourteen years left behind. You would have never chosen to let go if only the dead end opened up and let you in. You would have followed it until he found you again. But the One who made dead ends also made new roads. And He showed You, though you stubbornly refused to see, that fourteen years could be written off in ten pages of long bond paper and be history, just history, or some pages in your journal, or some old memory of a love found and lost.
Now they are silent. “Move on,” they say no more.
But to yourself, you say, “Move on much farther. Move on some more.” The tunnel does not seem so far away. So you tell yourself some more, “Move on. Move on. Keep moving on.” You’ve been through the tunnel. You found your way out. You could find your way back in. And so you fall on your knees and pray, “Lord, take me far, far away. I do not want to go back.”
Five years and two months away. That’s how far I am.
I keep the light, the sunshine, the sound of the sea, the ringing of the bells in my pocket, always ready to be retrieved, in case I forget … in case I forget how far I’ve gone.
February 15, 2009