Rosalyn Eves recently posted a short video to her facebook of the reactions of babies going through tunnels. At first, they are comfortable in their carseats reclining in the daylight – perhaps gazing out a window, looking at their parents, distracted, or even crying. The car they are riding in enters a tunnel and the darkness is instant. Their innocent countenances change just as quickly. They are shocked, afraid, surprised, overwhelmed, delighted, or frozen in complete awe of what has occurred. Beams from passing cars rhythmically illuminate their faces and their big, round eyes.
Surprises can catch us in the just the same way. Suddenly, we are thrown into a new environment and all we can do is stare ahead and wonder how it happened. Sometimes we look desperately for the light at the end of the tunnel in order to get out of the situation, but other times we are hypnotized by the transcendent beauty of the surprise – like walking with your head down around a corner of a new city and the high city blocks open up into a plaza where an orchestra is playing.
We tend to not remember the days that are boring. We are on the treadmills of our lives – waking, bathing, school, work, eating, sleep – but there are days when a surprise box is delivered to our doorstep. Those are the days we remember. I think of some of those moments of my life:
The day, as a child, when my Mom opened the front door and my Dad stood all tall and handsome with a suitcase in his hand. He was coming back to live with us after a year-long separation. He set down the suitcase and opened his arms.
The day I was supposed to go to the university when a letter was slipped under my door with a request to pack my swimsuit and go to the train station. I started that day on the coast of Italy eating cheese and good bread and ended it kissing under a lavender sunset.
It was the middle of the night when a small voice cried my name from the next room. It was the last word I heard my Grandma say. I ran in to find her small and turning cold.
After two years of trying to get pregnant, the test finally said yes. My first baby was coming. I was so overwhelmed I ran and ran and ran until collapsing on my knees.
The day the call came in that they finally figured out what had been wrong for so long. My Dad had stage-three colon cancer.
There are many more moments when I was overtaken by events and I caught my breath. I am grateful for them all.
If only we could think of each day as a surprise and a wonder – because how we react when we go into the daily tunnel of our life is what it is all about.
What is a surprise that threw you into a tunnel of blackness or beauty?