Posted by: Teri Simon | 2012/01/22

Light In The Tunnel

light in the tunnelGood morning, dear Blog Buddies and friends.  I know I typically blog on Sunday evenings, but I woke up this morning with this missive beating in my heart, so I’m gonna write it now before I forget! 🙂

Many years ago, I was a social worker at Catholic Charities here in Nashville.  I worked in two programs:  a child abuse prevention/intervention program, and a school social work program.  I shared office space with wonderful women: Mary, Tammy, and Amy (who later became mybestfriendinthewholewideworldamy).  We each had different takes and approaches to our work and our lives, and that served us so well as we bounced ideas and suggestions off one another and sought to save our little corners of the world.  We were GOOD, y’all!  One thing Mary said that has stuck with me was, “We all have our pain.”  Indeed, we do.  We ALL do.

In the past couple of weeks, I’ve had experiences that have highlighted Mary’s statement.  Some people’s pain is called Cancer (or Lung Junk); for some, it’s called Abuse, or Divorce, or Death, or Chronic Illness, or Bankruptcy, or Job Loss, or Bad Relationships, or Addiction, or Misunderstanding, or My Car Got Repossessed.  And for some, it’s called A Hangnail.  Or The Last Straw.  Or My Favorite TV Show Got Cancelled.  At any given time, any person walking around is likely walking around with some sort of pain.  We all have our own.  We do.

So here’s a real, true story to maybe help you with yours today:

In 2002, I filed for divorce from the man to whom I had been married for 15 years. Our anniversary, ironically enough, was at the end of the week that I filed for divorce.  Yeah.  I know.  He went into rehab for drug addiction on our anniversary. His drug of choice was pot, and do not, do not, DO NOT try to tell me that pot addiction is no big deal!  It is.  A BIG DEAL.  At least for our family it was:  my husband was addicted for 28 years to a drug that sapped all his motivation, isolated him from his family, and caused him to be defensive, absent, or emotionally abusive to his wife and three wonderful kids.  He smoked the equivalent of 9 -12 joints a day, for goodness sakes!

So, in support of his sobriety, which he achieved (and when he died, he died with 6+ years, and even I was proud of him!), I started attending Al Anon meetings, and lemme tell ya, finding the right fit for one of those things was a challenge for me!  It took a number of “shopping around” attempts to find a Family Meeting that wasn’t full of whiny women who just wanted to bitch and moan and bash their men.  But I found a good one, and felt all the support and “we all have our pain” understanding in it.

One evening after the meeting, I was walking to my car when a man from the meeting stopped me in the parking lot.  I had shared a bit of my story during the course of the meeting that night, and he was keen to talk to me.  He said, and this is NOT a quote, because, yeah, like I can remember stuff exactly, “I wanted to talk to you, because, as you know, we don’t give advice to one another in the meeting, but I wanted to share with you:  last year, I was exactly where you are today.  I had filed for divorce from my wife, who is an alcoholic.  We have three children, of whom I have full custody.  I was distraught.  And a man from my meeting stopped me just like I’m stopping you now, and gave me the single best piece of advice I’ve ever gotten from anyone.  And I want to share it with you now.”  Pay attention, class, because this is also the single best piece of advice I’ve ever gotten from anyone, and I am delighted to share it with you:

You know how people are always telling you to look for the light at the end of the tunnel?  Well, I’m here to tell you:  don’t forget to look for the light IN the tunnel.  Nobody ever said you had to go through the tunnel in the dark!

Now, there’s no way that man could have known that I, in fact, was using that “light at the end of the tunnel” as my guide for getting through my divorce.  No way.  But I was, honest.  And two years later, when the nastiness that was our divorce proceedings was finally over, and the decree came across the fax machine where I was then working, telling me I had won everything, I cried.  And I closed my eyes, and visualized myself emerging from that tunnel, into the light of day.  And in my visualization, I turned around to look into the long, dark tunnel from which I had emerged, and saw it: all the light in there, glowing like stars and sparklers and flashlights and beacons.  I had had so very much help along the way, understanding and concern and love and, well, light.  I had not gone through that tunnel alone, nor had I been in the dark.

We all have our pain, my friends, all of us.  We are all in tunnels, some of our own design, and some not so much.  But none of us, not one of us, has to be in the dark as we go through.  There is light.  I promise.

Wishing you a week of seeing lots of light,

Teri, the Flying Elephant in the Land of Lung Junk



  1. please know you are all lights in the tunnel that is my life! and i thank and bless and love you all for it!

  2. Great post, Teri. We continue to value your insights and wisdom.

  3. Ahh! And the wonderful thing is that in looking for the light in your own tunnel you have managed to share your light in other’s tunnels. That, my friend, is grace….

  4. SO prior to opening your blog I received an email telling me there is light at the end of the tunnel. I like the statement you shared and I am now looking for light while goig through the tunnel.
    Thanks once again for your beautiful being and all the inspiration you share.
    Love you lots,

  5. words written by the one is so often my light! Thank you for sharing this my friend…may you enjoy much light this week as well!

  6. EnLIGHTened!
    Hugs, Judith


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