The Way Out

6:16 PM
May 23, 1983

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8:03 AM May 9, 1983
This short story is a copy from a letter written to a young lady whom I met in Skagway, Alaska during the winter of 1982. During the late summer of 1982 while grieving my father's death, was living on Baranof Island Alaska, outside the town of Sitka; here my camp was setup in the woods next to an icy stream.  The story is entitle:




The Way Out

Had a vision one time in which I saw the world as a mining tunnel. The tunnel was infinitely long and I along with everyone else walked its length from birth to death, always searching for a way to get out.
In this vision while walking through the tunnel I began to wonder what it was that prevented the surrounding rocks from collapsing and killing everyone. This question came to me more frequently the further down the tunnel I walked. Soon the question troubled my mind so much that I began to search for the answer.
At this point in time, instead of walking along with the others, I stopped suddenly, making a sharp left turn making an effort to grope in the darkness toward the tunnel wall. Soon many people began to stumble over me. Cursing me they said, "If you ever want to get anywhere in life you have to follow those who are ahead of you. Refusing to heed their angry words, I continued in my search, for I felt I was close to finding the answer.
Soon I reached the tunnel wall; it was here that I found what I was looking for. There standing in the darkness with arms stretched upwards; hands against the rocks, back against the wall stood a man in agony. Though sweat and tears ran down his face and his arms and legs trembling from the crushing weight he held, he never once cried out. As the full meaning of what this man was doing sank into my mind, a light of greater understanding came to me. With the dawning of this light, the darkness of the tunnel began to vanish. Now, revealed before me were others just like this man. These men lined both sides of the tunnel, each a human flesh and blood timber. Together linked in spirit and purpose they prevented the collapse of the tunnel so the multitudes that walked the tunnel's length in darkness looking for a way out, might come to find the one true way out of the tunnel.
I wanted out of that dark world of the tunnel and something within my heart and new found understanding told me that these strong human timbers of love knew the way out. I looked up to the face filled with agony and love and fell to my knees crying, "My God please show me the way out of here!" The man before me looked down upon me with an expression filled with infinite pity and said, "I Am The Way." Then he looked up, closed his eyes and collapsed to the ground in death. The next instant the rocks in the wall and ceiling where he once stood began to rumble and shake. Fearing that the rocks might begin falling creating a chain reaction which would destroy the whole tunnel; I leaped up and pressed my hands and back against rocks to prevent this cataclysm from happening. As I stood there pressing harder and harder the rumbling of the rocks ceased and all became peaceful once again. However, with that peace came the weight of my new responsibility crushing down on every part of me.
As I stand here trembling in the tunnel, I look for the body of the man who had collapsed in death before me but his body is no longer there. With this awareness, a strength of certainty fills my heart; for in my longing for the way to get out of the tunnel I have come to know the only True Way.



Updated: November 09, 2023


© Copyright February 10, 2004 by Michael Rice





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