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Into The Light of Life

Story ID:10766
Written by:Michael Timothy Smith (bio, link, contact, other stories)
Story type:Musings, Essays and Such
Location:Sydney Nova Scotia Canada
Year:1980
Person:Everyone
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In 1980, I walked into “The Miner’s Museum” in Glace Bay, Nova Scotia, Canada. I
looked at the displays: helmets, tools, lumps of coal with fossils of long-gone insects and
animals. I wanted to go underground. I wanted to experience what the men who worked this
mine experienced many years ago.

A guide gathered us together. He handed us vests and helmets with lights and led us
down a ramp into the mine beneath the museum. Along the way, the guide pointed out historic
equipment and fossils. I saw the cage where they kept the canaries. The birds were their warning
system. If they died, the miners knew they had to leave the mine, before the methane gas
killed them too.

At the end of our trek under the earth, the guide told us to turn off our headlamps. With
no light and black coal on all sides, it was the darkest place I ever experienced …eerie.

We were all happy to get out of there and see the sun again.

My next coal mine was in Sydney Mines, Nova Scotia. It was the Princess Mine, which I
believe is closed now. The opening of the mine led to a mine shaft that went more than a mile
underground to the working area under Sydney harbor.

We climbed into coal cars. Myself and about fifty other tourists stared at each other. Our
coal cars were attached to a cable, which at the time, was the longest strand of cable in the world.

The cars jerked. We stared at each other with fear. We began a slide into a darkness that
our helmet lights fought to penetrate.

To kill time, our guide asked, “Where is everyone from?”

“China.” someone answered.

People took turns: Texas, Alberta, Australia, Japan.

They covered the world.

I said, “Nova Scotia.”

“Well, we have one local on the tour.” The guide laughed.

Our ride came to an end. There were lights and displays. Fossils lined the walls and the
ceiling of the mine. There was the canary cage again – the warning of death.

How could men live and work in such dark and claustrophobic confines?

They worked to provide for their families. They died too young – never providing again.
Some died from mine explosions. Others died from black lung disease. They still do today.
One thing sticks in my mind …the total darkness. It was terrifying.

If you don’t believe in Jesus, this is what you have for eternity.

Believe! Jesus will pull you from that dark tunnel into the light of everlasting life.

Michael T. Smith