We each have a life story, penned without ink, read by the people around us. Who's writing your story?

Friday, February 23, 2018

The Light at the End of the Tunnel - Part 1

Remove sunglasses. Turn lights on. Stay in lane.
As the tunnel entrance swallowed our car, I could hear our daughters in the back seat inhaling huge gulps of air, then becoming quiet as they held their breath until we exited into the bright sunshine at the other end, 4,380 feet later. Ah-h-h. Their relief and laughter all mixed together always made me smile. I still think of their antics every time I travel on the northeast extension of the PA Turnpike. 

In 1957, a single two-lane tunnel under Blue Mountain opened. In 1991 a parallel tunnel was constructed to allow two lanes of traffic in each direction. I marvel at the engineering of it all.

And yet, I'm not too fond of the tunnel experience. Are you? I feel closed in and find myself gripping the wheel a little tighter, allowing plenty of space between my front end and the tail lights of the car in front of me. And always, my eyes search for the light at the end of the tunnel.

The expression, "light at the end of the tunnel," dates back to the 1800s but became more widespread in the mid-1900s. By now a cliché, it still captures the idea that a difficult situation or task might be coming to an end.* There's hope. We're moving toward a place that will give relief and allow us to breath a little freer.

Some tunnel experiences seem short and others drag on for much longer. At times we think we're close to finishing our journey in the dark only to find that the light seems to keep moving ahead, beyond our ability to exit in the time we expected. We may feel hemmed in by the darkness as we watch others whizzing past us in the other lane. Whether we're facing an illness, a financial crisis, or a season of stress, in each case, we find relief and joy when we see the end in sight. "The desire accomplished is sweet to the soul" (Proverbs 13:19).

However, not all of our tunnel experiences are negative.
What projects have you taken on, knowing they would be challenging and demanding, yet the anticipated reward kept you motivated to stay in your lane and keep going? I felt that way when I began to write Penned Without Ink.    

Most recently, I teamed up with my publisher and a narrator to produce an audiobook of our story. The rule of thumb suggests that narrators or readers set aside ten hours  of time for each hour of actual reading. My book takes 4 hours and 18 minutes. Think of all the time it took for the narrator, Robin Wasser, to read and produce our story. And she captured it beautifully. On my end, I listened and proofread each chapter twice, pointing to every word in the book. As I checked off each section, I began to see the light at the end of the tunnel grow brighter.

On February 16,  the audiobook of Penned Without Ink made its appearance on Amazon and is now available through Audible! Ah-h-h. Project complete and well worth every foot of tunnel time along the way. I hope you'll check it out HERE.

No matter where we find ourselves in our life stories, let's keep our eyes on the light at the end of the tunnel. We don't have to hold our breath. God promises His precious presence all the way to the end.

Next time: Part 2

Tunnel photos from bing.com/images/free to use

Monday, February 5, 2018

When Sleep Evades Us . . .

I turned over and looked at the clock. Five minutes past midnight. I sighed. It had only been two hours since I turned out the light, and already I was awake.

As I lay there in the dark, I could hear the wind howling. I snuggled under the covers a little deeper, grateful for the warmth and stability of my home. I tried to pray but my thoughts, like the wind and snow outside, seemed to be swirling every which way. Oh, for the nights when sleep came easily and I didn't wake up until dawn.

What do you do when you can't sleep?

Gradually, the words to an old hymn began to slip their way into my mind:

Under His wings I am safely abiding,
Though the night deepens and tempests are wild;
Still I can trust Him - I know He will keep me,
He has redeemed me and I am His child.

"Though the night deepens and tempests are wild" certainly described this night - outside and in. The reassuring words of trust, redemption, and belonging began to quiet my heart.

Under His wings, what a refuge in sorrow!
How the heart yearningly turns to His rest!
Often when earth has no balm for my healing,
There I find comfort and there I am blest. 

Under His wings, O what precious enjoyment!
There will I hide till life's trials are o're; 
Sheltered, protected, no evil can harm me, 
Resting in Jesus I'm safe evermore.

Sweet memories of taking the girls to the Harford Fair made me smile in the darkness. Every year, we visited the mother hen who sheltered her chicks under her wings. Witnessing the fluffy chicks hiding under their mother stamped an indelible impression on this city girl as I explained how, just like the mother hen, God shelters and protects us. 

Under His wings, Under His wings,
Who from His love can sever?
Under His wings my soul shall abide,
Safely abide forever.*

Sleep evaded me for much of the night, but I could rest in the One who is "my God, in whom I trust." One who will cover us with his pinions, and under his wings we will find refuge . . . (Psalm 91:2, 4).

*William O. Cushing, 1823-1902

*Photos from bling.com/images/free to use