Be a lighthouse

Recently I made a new acquaintance. She reminds me of my sisters- full of energy and big ideas, with snappy brown eyes… I’m not really sure how old she is- 15 maybe? Or if she has siblings (but I think she does). And I really don’t know if we’ll meet again… I hope so- but only time will tell…  

(editor’s note: this is a fictional character that I’m hoping will help me pull random facts into my posting… In other words this is a rather wordy way for me to say- my work week took me to Outer Banks, NC and Cape Hatteras… So enjoy this for what it’s worth.)

Ladies and Gentleman- I present to you- Miss Chistianna Jolene 

As the sun climbed higher in the sky, I felt like our pea patch stretched on to the ends of the earth. The main thing that helped my ambition level was the fact that I.love.peas. They may be my favorite vegetable. But in the back of my mind, the unspoken fact that you can purchase them at your local grocery store-was rearing its ugly head… But I ignored it and continued on.

I let my imagination take over. I do that occasionally. Suddenly the green vines in front of my turned into greenish waves and I was taking my spot as lifeguard at the ocean. I settled back in my seat and looked out over the scene in front of me. I love the water. The power of the ocean gets me every time. I think , that when I stand in front of the pounding, constant surf, I have the best grasp on how truly small man is and how big God is. My second favorite thing about the beach is the families. I love watching Moms and Dad taking time off to do nothing but enjoy being outside with their children. Sand castles are being constructed, football is being tossed, and there’s always that battle of the waves that needs some attention… So I settled in for a long, hot day. I do enjoy my job, and I know how important my presence is to all those parents. It’s good to know that if something would go wrong, that help is already here. “Excuse me a minute, that one little fellow is getting a-plenty far out”  I picked up my whistle and was preparing to whistle him in, when…

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“So what are you thinking about” My mom’s voice interrupted my rescue and nearly gave me a heart attack…

“What makes you think I was thinking?” 😉

“My little dreamer” my mom always says “if you were a boy, we should’ve named you Joseph” And then we laugh because if anyone knows what an imagination is like, you might say that I get it honest.

So I caught her up to speed on my imagined beach rescue. She was quiet for a little and then said “Did you ever hear about my dad’s summer at the water?”

I hadn’t and for the next half a bushel of peas, I settled in for story time. My mom can tell a great story and I was transported back in time…

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“I don’t know how old my dad was- but it was the summer after Granddad had broken his leg in a logging accident, and Dad needed to get away a little. Granddad was up and rolling again and Dad was at that critical point as a teenager- where he was faced with some life changing decisions… He always was fascinated by the ocean and read every book he could get his hands on-especially ones about daring sea rescues. So when Granddad ran into an old friend and discovered that he was tending a lighthouse- that seemed like the perfect fit.

That summer must’ve been something. Dad often talked about it. He lived with a fairly large family, with a big garden and their own milk cow. Every morning, 5 gallons of Kerosene (between 30-40 lbs) needed to be hauled up the flight of 268 stairs, and the brass at the top of the lighthouse was always in need of polishing. Yet somehow they still found time for a little surf fishing and a quick swim.

The lighthouse was placed at a critical point because the Gulf Stream ran fairly close to where the island was, so of course ships used it. But there is a sand bar underwater there that is forever changing- and thus caused a lot of headache for the crews. I think the watery graveyards around there had claimed 600 ships- as near as anybody knew…

Some evenings Dad would go out to the Lifeguard Station and listen to those hearty seamen swap tales. Apparently the unofficial motto of these everyday heroes was “The rules say you have to go out, they don’t say anything about coming back.”  Not too long before, they had been the ones who had discovered the mysterious Carroll M. Deering which was a ship that had run aground and when they arrived- they discovered the only living being on board to be a thin gray cat. The ship was in perfect order- beds were made, food was prepared- but the entire crew disappeared without a trace. And they never did find them. It was maybe pirates. Or the crew could’ve felt restless and joined up with another ship and disappeared… But nobody knows. Except that cat. And it refused to tell.

They were a team- the lighthouse and the lifesaving station… The keeper kept the light burning hoping to slim down their opportunity for rescues- but when that need arose- they’d embark without a backward glance.

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The absolute highlight of the experience was at night. He’d climb those stairs, look out into the darkness,  watch those beams dancing across the water and think about the difference that one light was making. It must have been awesome up there. He always tried to describe it-that salty sea breezes against his face, the stars twinkling overhead, the sound of the night birds calling back and forth on the shore line…”

“How many people did he help rescue?” I wondered

“I guess we don’t know yet.”

Now that threw me for a loop- wasn’t this back in the ’20s?

“It was that summer that he decided to become a lighthouse. I don’t know if it was an idea from a sermon he heard while on the island, or if it was an inspiration from his favorite night post… But if I heard it once growing up- I heard it about 5,000 times… ‘There’s so much darkness and confusion around us,’ he’d say ‘Be there. Be constant. Allow the love of Christ to shine from you and reach people. Be a lighthouse!’ And that’s exactly how he lived his life.”

I wish I could’ve met him- my mom sure thinks highly of a man who was called home before I can remember…

Suddenly I realized that we had reached the end of the garden.. And I headed to the house with my bucket, and heart, full- determined to let my light shine.

Bonus Pics:

I think these are my favorites from Emily and Kerry’s engagement pics.. 🙂

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