Light Comes in the Darkness
My Aunt Sis lived all but eight of her years of her life in her beloved, great state of Connecticut. She was a Yankee, through and through. Even in her final years here in Atlanta's sunny south, try as she might, Helen Louise couldn’t budge her accent (saying “um-brell-er” and referring to her precious brother as “Clahk”). We all knew the truth that even though Aunt Sis rooted for the Braves her heart was always with her beloved Red Sox.
Aunt Sis taught so many of us to love lighthouses. She collected pictures of them most all of her life. She collected postcards and puzzles, magazine covers and books. I grew up appreciating the beauty of lighthouses -- these outposts standing tall in the bright, blue sky on the edge of the water. During the day, they were beautiful towers -- rising high over the rocks down below. But the truth about lighthouses is that their greatest worth can’t be seen in the daylight. They shine at night. Their reason for being is served best in the dark. They are most powerful from miles away. Their purpose is shining brightly over the water - just a long, steady movement of light on the horizon. From a great distance lighthouses light the way for many a wayward vessel navigating the waters through the darkness. Warning against danger. Guiding and leading the night-travelers from harm’s way. Helping the weary make their way home.
I wonder what the story is of the very first lighthouse. Was it built by one who spent time on the water and had witnessed first-hand the damage that happens when someone crashes on the rocks? Or was the first one built by someone who spent time on land and wanted to save sisters and brothers from such damage and pain? I don’t know. But either way, I’m comforted. Lighthouses are built for those who are “out there somewhere.” They are built with the concern that comes from a spirit that wants no harm to come to another.
It is in that compassion that grief’s healing is often held. That message of recognition of another’s pain and the gracious, kind-heartedness of another when they recognize your story and choose to travel just a bit with you on the journey.
Storms blow in predicted or not. Loss comes into our lives. There is loss that we can see coming or sometimes loss that blindsides us and leaves us reeling. When the winds blow and we feel tossed and turned, it is comforting beyond measure to see a light beaming across the water. Light coming from a lighthouse far off, but close enough to make that life-saving connection. This light tells us that there are rocks ahead, and we need to be careful. This light beaming across the water shows us that we are not alone. Someone is watching out for our welfare. Someone is there even when we can't seem them, helping to guide us safely home.