As I prepare for a talk next week on integrating mental health screenings into primary care visits, I find myself remembering biking through the tunnels of the Via Verde de la Sierra, near Olvera, Spain.
Like many bike trails, the Via Verde was an old train track which had found new purpose as a bike path between the White Cities of Andalusia. The path winds through a series of tunnels.
Most were short. You could see the beginning and the end and you just popped in and right out the other side.
Some were a little longer and were quite dark, but often some motion sensitive lights would come on as we entered the tunnel.
And then there was one that was long and twisty. We got a little way in and it was completely dark. The motion sensitive lights were either not installed or did not come on. All was black and damp. We were disoriented.
Fortunately, my husband had remembered to charge the batteries for his little bike light in the hotel the night before.
When we suddenly found ourselves in complete darkness, unable to orient ourselves to the ground, the ceiling, the sides, stepping timidly along the uneven ground, feeling along the cool concrete walls, wondering what or who else we might be about to step on or bump into, he pulled out his little tiny bike light, and though his light was small, it was just enough to orient not only all of us, but another couple who had been stumbling along in the dark in the middle of the cave as well.
He had remembered to charge his batteries.
His light helped orient all of us until the light from the other side was visible.
As you begin 2019, should you suddenly or not so suddenly find yourself in the middle of a dark tunnel, feeling your way along the cool walls, needing help to figure out which way is up, down, backward, or forward, I hope you can find your tiny light, and that you took time to charge it, or that you are with someone who will share their glow.