Last year, we took a drive up the California coastline to see the Redwood trees. If you ever get the chance to do this, I would highly recommend it. The majesty of these giant trees date back several thousand years. I would consider myself as tall but when I stand next to any of these Redwood trees, I feel as small as an ant!
One of the famous stops for tourists is the Chandelier Drive-Thru Tree. It is wide enough for most cars to drive through but you must possess nerves of steel when going through such the journey. I was unsure whether my vehicle would actually fit. One tourist yelled out to me – “drive fast!” With my son inside the car to enjoy the experience with me, I aligned my steel chariot, folded in the side mirrors, took a deep breath, and slowly let go of the brake.
As the car moved towards the narrow opening,
the sounds of the tourists faded away. The belly of the tree seemed to swallow us as I carefully navigated the car (yes, I did have a passing thought of “this would be embarrassing if I got us stuck in here”).
Peering through the sun roof, it was claustrophobic to say the least. The clearance on each side was a mere couple of inches at its narrowest point. Darkness cloaked us as I rhythmically released the brakes. A small part of me that wanted to stay safely inside the cavern of this mighty tree yet I knew that eventually, I would be crawling out of my skin as confinement was not on my agenda!
Soon, the beautiful sunlight separated the darkness and as the opening became more prominent, my body felt relieved that we would make it through this tree. It is hard to see but the openings on either side of the tree were wider than the tunnel inside. As you can see by the picture, my vehicle was tall but it seemed as if this grand tree opened its belly just for me!
When I reflect upon this experience, it reminds me of my journey through life. In the beginning, I see excitement and possibilities. Everything should fit just right! I may have even been encouraged to drive fast through my life!
However, as I continue to live, life sometimes has a way of suffocating you during the dark times. Fear and doubt creeps in as you look all around you – the circumstances appear to be closing in on you and many times, you ask the question, “Can I really make it through this?”
If you stay the course, eventually daylight will appear like a forgotten friend. It welcomes and encourages you to keep moving forward and come out of your darkness. It begs you NOT to remain in the belly of your circumstances where you have a false sense of security (some choose to remain in their turmoil because it is better than moving forward into more unknown territory).
Soon, victory is claimed when one does move through their pain and step into the light. Metaphorically, I chose to move forward in my life and not remain in the dark past. This is my courage to live on with life and trust me, it is so much better to fulfill that journey and be welcomed into triumph.
So what happened when my vehicle emerged out of the tree? Many tourists were taking pictures of us, smiling, and celebrated our victory. The conversations and chatter were sounds of joy in my ears. As for the one tourist who yelled out for me to “drive fast“?
He walked away smiling.