[This is an excerpt from Messages from Estillyen, Chapter Ten, titled “Tunnel House.” Estillyen monk Drama welcomes the group that has gathered for a dramatic reading based on a Scripture narrative.]
“Hello, everyone. My name is Drama. It’s great to have you here at Tunnel House today. My colleague in the far corner is my dear friend and brother, Chronicle. He’s supposedly now retired, but have you ever seen a retired monk? Brother Chronicle will be assisting me with a bit of the reading.
“Concerning Tunnel House, we’re not sure why the house was built as it was, with the tunnel below. We know carriages have passed through, and it’s an obvious shelter from a storm.
“We like Tunnel House for readings because a tunnel is a space for going through; from one side you pass to the other side. One end of the tunnel may show through to clouds and rain, the other end sunshine. Smiles may populate one end, sorrows the other. Tunnels are an experience. Some people simply dash through them, while others tend to plod along. Tunnels have a way of silently transmitting to travelers the pace prescribed.
“In life, sometimes it can be difficult to discern one’s direction. In a tunnel, there are only two directions: this and that. But that can look like this, and this, that. Tunnels are funny that way. They can lead you in, or take you away. In and out you go.
“A tunnel is a tunnel true—never a passage or a pass. Calling a tunnel something else is like suggesting a crevice is a cave, or a canyon a crack. No, a tunnel is that which surrounds you. You see it all. There’s no denying you’re in it. Encased within you are; through its artery you progress. Whether short or long, you are the life within the tunnel. Yet the tunnel is not you. This you must always remember.
“And residing in a tunnel really does not work. A tunnel is not a place of residence. A tunnel may be quite short or expressly long. Certain tunnels have been reported to grow. Once you enter a tunnel of this description, the light at the other end does not grow brighter, as you might think. It looks as if the light is diminishing, but it’s not. It’s moved. The tunnel is growing longer.
“If you find yourself in a growing tunnel, let me suggest the slightest bit of advice. It’s not wise, particularly when inside a tunnel deep, to start racing towards what appears to be a dimming light. For if you do, the light can go out; it can disappear. Before you get to the end, another tunnel has begun, and tunnel two may be twice as long as tunnel one.
“It’s always best when in tunnel space to move at tunnel pace. Respecting the sense of tunnel enclosure is the mode. See it as a kind of caregiver, a respite from the elements that will bring you through, in tunnel time, to the life God has for you.
“Well, that’s a word on tunnels.”