I had the blessed experience of visiting a few lighthouses recently. It’s been a while since I’ve been to one. I want to thank some dear people who allowed me the opportunity to visit a few new ones in Maine while on vacation. It brought joy to my heart that I was able to share this passion with them. While visiting, they asked me, “What started you on this lighthouse fascination?”
Well, it has to do with their purpose. In 2001 I was laid off from my corporate training job, the first job I truly enjoyed after I left teaching. Everyone was surprised, including me. I was great at my job, the best in my area but seniority won out. I was laid off for almost a year. I was frustrated, angry and even yelling at God. “Why aren’t you getting me a job?”. “Why am I always ‘second choice?’” I was also getting scared. My unemployment was about to run out. I didn’t have insurance.
I ran away to Nags Head for a few days. It’s a beach on the Outer Banks of North Carolina. That’s what I usually do when things aren’t going very well – I run away, like some prodigal child. One night, there was a terrible electrical storm. Around 8:30, the power from the hotel went out and I decided to go out and just ride around. It was quite foggy. The rain was traveling sideways, along with the winds, clouds, lightening, and thunder. In spite of all that, I got in my car anyway and drove out to the Currituck Lighthouse; where I just sat on the side of the road in the rain. I sat there and watched her in all her glory. Through the storm, fog, and rain, this gorgeous beacon was shining brighter than the sun. Then, when I didn’t think it could get any better, I noticed something else. Wiping away my tears, I noticed the storm began to calm down. As I kept focus on this Beacon, this comforting light, things began to calm down – inside and out. The rain stopped, the thunder quieted down and a peace took over my heart. The burden became a little lighter.
I went back to my hotel and went for a walk along the beach. There was a lifeguard stand. I climbed it to have better view of the ocean and a closer seat to God. Listening to the waves I began to pray, thanking God for this evening and what I had just experienced. And believe it or not, God started talking to me. This moment was a reminder to me of all God HAD done. He shined a light in the midst of the storm. That light came through the beauty of friendship and those friends who stood with me, cried with me and cheered me on. People like Laura, Steve, and Kim. That light came through a giving church and supportive Sunday school. That light came through anonymous donations to help pay for rent. That light came through the strength of getting up in the morning and not giving up. That light came through the determination of improving my interview skills and finding part time jobs to keep up my confidence and dare I say sanity.
I cried again, but this time it was in reaction to the release of pain and struggles, with the pouring in of grace and peace. God wasn’t the one who laid me off from my job. God wasn’t the one who picked the other candidate for the position. No. None of those people or events were of God’s doing. God was the one WITH me; not against me. God was the one there to cheer me on, pick me up, and wipe away my tears. God was the one who pushed me when I needed the push and stopped me when I needed to take a break. God was the one that sent people to carry the burden with me, when I couldn’t carry it alone. God was the one who provided for me when I couldn’t provide for myself. God was there in the courage and strength. I sat there on that stand for two hours remembering all that God had done. I began running back to God, asking forgiveness and resting in the embrace of his love. I could feel the compassion, love, and grace. When I thought all was said and done, I looked up from that embrace and there in the sky, I saw seven shooting stars. Unbelievable but yes, it’s true. What a beautiful gift, the entire evening; given to a girl who needed a Light to guide her home.
I had a fascination with lighthouses before this experience, but THIS is why lighthouses are a part of my life.