Growing up as a landlubber, I never really gave much thought to them.
Lighthouses, I mean. I knew what they were, I’d viewed pictures of them, but I’d never personally seen one.
Before I became an adult, the closest I ever found myself to water was near creeks, rivers, an occasional lake or pond, and my next-door neighbor/ friend’s swimming pool.
I had never beheld an ocean –the one time my family vacationed in Atlantic City, New Jersey when I was a mere three months old didn’t count in my memory bank – until my then fiancé (now husband), whose family vacationed at the shore every summer, drove me there.
Since that trip, I’ve learned to appreciate the sea. I’m not crazy about being IN it, but I do love to be beside it. And I’ve also conquered my fear of being on the waves in a water craft although Papa still can’t convince me to take an ocean cruise.
I find it interesting that two oceans touch the eastern and western borders of my country, the United States of America, – the Atlantic on the eastern seaboard and the Pacific on the west. Having lived on both sides of the country, some of our travels have taken us to both ocean coasts as well as some of the Great Lakes.
During those travels, I’ve become fond of photographing lighthouses. Those structures served as a continuous or intermittent signal for navigators on the water, be it ocean or lake or even river. Lighthouses emitted beacons of light from lamps and lenses to give maritime pilots a navigational point they could see.
Once lighthouses provided warnings about dangerous coastlines and locations of hazardous reefs or rocks and showed safe waterways into harbors. But because of the upkeep expense of maintaining them and also the development of electronic navigation systems, the number of operational lighthouses has significantly declined.
However, many of those beacons of light still stand. And you can visit a number of them. In recent years, Papa and I have been doing just that. We actually acquired a lighthouse fold-out brochure guide on one of our trips that lists all of the lighthouses in every state of our country.
We’ve visited some of those sites over the years and we hope to continue to do so. Lighthouses provide some dramatic scenery but more than that, what they symbolize has profound meaning for me as a person of faith.
Life is perilous. We encounter all kinds of storms in this earthly life and it often feels like we are lost at sea, just being tossed around on waves of disappointment, disillusionment, even despair. At the mercy of a fierce, dark tempest, we look for a light in the darkness. Something to guide us to safety and well-being.
Something like a lighthouse. A shining light in the darkness that leads us safely home. For me, that’s a Savior named Jesus. And a lighthouse reminds me of Him.
You may never have known this, but this Friday is National Lighthouse Day here in the US. Way back in 1789, Congress signed the Act for the Establishment and support of Lighthouse, Beacons, Buoys, and Public Piers.
Two hundred years later in 1989, Congress passed a resolution designating August 7 as National Lighthouse Day. The purpose of the day is “to recognize the importance of lighthouses in maritime navigation and for providing ships safe harbor during bad weather.”
Because of my affinity for lighthouses, I’ve decided to share some of my photographs of ones we’ve personally visited over the years in a new series here on my blog. I call it Tuesday Tour. I hope you will enjoy each Tuesday post when I’ll highlight a different lighthouse we’ve visited and a little information about each one.
Please come along on my Tuesday Tour. The light might be beckoning to you.
“Anxiously you ask, ‘Is there a way to safety? Can someone guide me? Is there an escape from threatened destruction?’ The answer is a resounding yes! I counsel you: Look to the lighthouse of the Lord. There is no fog so dense, no night so dark, no gale so strong, no mariner so lost but what its beacon light can rescue. It beckons through the storms of life. It calls, ‘This way to safety; this way to home.’ “~ Thomas S. Monson