A few years ago I was in a very dark place. I had split up with my long term partner, left the village I grew up in and living on my own for the first time. Although I love solitude it has to be my choice and I was terrified of being on my own forever.
Very often when I was in a dark place I would find myself sitting at the base of a special willow tree back in the village I grew up in. I had climbed this tree as a child and found a counsellor in it as an adult. So many times I would sit leaning against its trunk sobbing not knowing how to go on, only to find answers, love and encouragement coming to my mind.
One of the pieces of wisdom that tree gifted me with was the metaphor of the light at the end of the tunnel.
So often we say that the light at the end of the tunnel has gone out, we have lost hope and cannot see how to continue… the willow tree explained the full metaphor to me so well.
The tunnel is part of our path in life. We walk our path and when dark times come we enter the tunnel. If things aren’t too dark the tunnel is straight and we can see the light ahead of us. However, if things get really bad and we can’t see the light we find that there is a bend in the tunnel. The light is still there, we just can’t see it.
This means, all we have to do in those times is to just keep on walking. Nothing more. Put one foot in front of the other, day by day, and soon we turn the corner and the light comes back into view.
The willow made it very clear that it was not an “uphill struggle”… the light hadn’t gone out because we had to climb a hill, the path was flat and we just had to keep on walking.