Why would someone born and raised in small-town Iowa develop a fascination with lighthouses?
After all, it isn’t something that was daily visible as I was growing up.
To the best of my knowledge, there are no sea captains or ocean fishermen among my ancestors.
I have come to the conclusion that I am a lighthouse aficionado because to me they symbolize two truths:
One truth is that the lighthouses emphasize the beneficial difference that one human being can make in the world. Most lighthouses were built on deceptive areas of coastline, where due to reefs, frequent fog, or other invisible dangers repeated shipwrecks occurred. Once the need for help was known, lighthouses were built and keepers were hired. These lighthouse keepers and their families lived in remote areas, and the times they were most needed was when the weather was at its worst. Their job was to insure that a constant, dependable light was visible seaward each night, to warn those on the ships where the land began. These keepers needed to be stalwart and dependable. The lives of those on the sea were in their hands. It was a monumental responsibility, and through the dull, monotonous nights of routine, that one human being worked with God at his side to keep fellow human beings safe.
The other truth is that steady light symbolizes hope. Just imagine yourself as a ship passenger or sailor approaching the coast, knowing that a reef lurked below. You are on deck or in the rigging, straining your eyes to detect some aspect of danger to the ship. Then far in the distance ahead, you detect a pin prick of light. Minute by minute the speck becomes larger, until even the passengers can tell that there is a lighthouse available, and the keeper is on duty to help those on ship to avoid the dark dangers of the night. Those on ship are not alone in their struggles anymore. There is hope that the journey will continue and come to a successful conclusion.
Today we celebrate National Lighthouse Day. Think about the lighthouse keepers who made a difference in the lives of fellow human beings that they never met, doing their best to give them safety and hope.
For further information about National Lighthouse Day, please click on the links below.