“Due to recent Government cutbacks, The Light At The End Of The Tunnel has been turned off.”
I laughed out loud the first time I read this clever quip painted on a small plaque in a Hallmark store. But in today’s Pandemic environment, these words have the sting of truth about them and they’re not so funny. When every daily event, and all future plans must be filtered through the reality of the Coronavirus, with no end in sight, it feels like there is no light at the end of the tunnel.
As most of you know, for the last two years I have been working to bring a dream to fruition— to move to Prague and teach English. What you don’t know is how close I came to realizing my dream before the Pandemic struck. Last November I went to Prague for two weeks, had two job interviews, and got two job offers. My plan was to move there in June of 2020. Now I’m in indefinite limbo with no idea as to when the light will reappear at the end of that tunnel.
There are only two real responses to finding yourself in a darkened tunnel. You can scream and curse the darkness, ( all the while eating too much and “doom scrolling” online until you create for yourself an inert depression.) Or, you can stumble your way forward into the darkness with no assurances about what lies ahead.
Literally speaking, the human eye requires very little light to see in the darkness, even the dimmest of starlight will do. When confronted with darkness, our eyes automatically adjust. The pupils expand to let in more light and a transition occurs in our light sensing cells from the use of cones, which see color and detail, to rods that give us our night vision. The whole process only takes about 20 minutes to be at full capacity.
Now, if only the darkness of mind and spirit adapted as quickly or as easily! If you are like me, you may find yourself alternating between determination and despair. Most days I’m hopeful and productive, but some days I am too despondent to even try to accomplish anything. While contemplating my (our) current dilemma, I remembered this poem by Emily Dickinson that perfectly articulates our struggle to adapt to this new reality that we find ourselves in.
We grow accustomed to the dark— When Light is put away— As when the Neighbor holds the Lamp To witness her Goodbye— A Moment—We uncertain step For newness of the night— Then—fit our Vision to the Dark— And meet the Road—erect— And so of larger—Darknesses— The Evenings of the Brain— When not a Moon disclose a sign— Or Star—come out—within— The Bravest—grope a little— And sometimes hit a Tree Directly in the Forehead— But as they learn to see— Either the Darkness alters— Or something in the sight Adjusts itself to Midnight— And Life steps almost straight.
I try not to be too hard on myself during these uncertain times, and I suggest you do the same. Eventually, either the darkness will alter or our sight will adjust itself. Of course, things won’t be the same post Pandemic, but we will all find our equilibrium again, and Life will step “almost straight.”
Dear Readers, have you found yourself in a darkened tunnel of late wondering when the light will be turned on again? If so, I’d love to hear how you’ve been coping.
I always enjoy your posts and this one is uplifting. I’m very sorry to hear you didn’t get to Prague and hopefully it is in your future. In the meantime your positivity is encouraging.
Thanks Linda, and its nice to hear from you. I hope you and all your family are doing well during this difficult time.
Lovely reminders. Thank you for sharing. And I really liked that poem. I had not read it before.
Thanks Carie, I hope you are adjusting to your new normal at school
Always enjoy your blog. This time right now is challenging in our country. Maybe when you are ready to go to Prague I can go along.
Thanks for your encouragement Sue. Sure, come along!
I enjoyed your post. Thank you for sharing and reminding us to stay positive. I hope you will make it to Prague when all this madness is over
Thanks Marie-Claire. I feel certain I will get there, I just have to be patient.
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I’m sorry to hear you haven’t been able to get to Prague. As I write this, Czech Republic is one of the worst, if not the worst, country in the world in terms of CoVid cases. Maybe it’s a good thing you are not there now. Hopefully, we will see the end of this virus in 2021.
You are right Barb. CZ probably does have the worst Covid situation in all of Europe right now. I have booked a flight for June and will have the option to change the ticket of course. I’m hopeful of arriving by the end of the summer.