Sunday, August 8, 2010

An Outer Banks Beacon (by Judy)

The Outer Banks of North Carolina, August 2010. Sun, sand and surf with son, daughter, spouses and 5 grandchildren. What a wonderful, happy time together. Oldest granddaughter Lia always arose first, crawled into our bed and snuggled, offering and accepting kisses, warm and sweet smelling. Youngest granddaughter Matilda was indomitable, not at all intimidated by her cousinly and brotherly elders. When challenged, she roared like a lion, literally. Towering above us, visible from almost every window was the Currituck Lighthouse. Whenever I looked it, I heard music - the mariner's hymn, sung at the funerals of so many of our fathers, both literal and figurative. Jack Kennedy. Ronald Reagan. John Wolcott.

Eternal Father, strong to save, whose arm hath bound the restless wave,
Who bidd'st the mighty ocean deep, Its own appointed limits keep;
Oh, hear us when we cry to Thee, For those in peril on the sea!

What is there about a lighthouse that challenges sons. Why did older grandson Max daily beg to climb the 212 steps, and when he finally achieved his goal, what thrill kept him at the upper railing, circling and circling, a tiny figure triumphantly waving at the world below; while his 5 year old counterpart Arial, like the Disney mermaid, delighted in jumping waves, and tripled the length of the walk from house to beach and back because she stopped to pick up so many glittering, multicolored shells. Did Max recognize that lighthouses stand in the gap, filling the darkness with bold beams of light, 3 seconds on and 17 seconds off, so that ships with precious cargo and brave deckhands can make their journeys in safety.

O Christ! Whose voice the waters heard, And hushed their raging at Thy word,
Who walked'st on the foaming deep, And calm amidst its rage didst sleep;
Oh, hear us when we cry to Thee, For those in peril on the sea!

I love that lighthouse, just as I love the lighthouse of my childhood, Barnegat, on Long Beach Island in New Jersey. Each night I lay in bed while familiar voices intermingled in the living room. I opened my Bible on the night table and read from Isaiah, Psalms, Job while the steady rhythm of the light passed by my vision. I smiled as I thought about younger grandson Ian praying at the dinner table, eyes squeezed together, drawing the words and sentences out as we all held hands. Raised in China by Christian parents, he symbolizes for me the passing of the mantle, a new generation filled with the Spirit, God's beacons in the darkness.

Most Holy Spirit! Who didst brood Upon the chaos dark and rude,
And bid its angry tumult cease, And give, for wild confusion, peace;
Oh, hear us when we cry to Thee, For those in peril on the sea!

1 comment:

  1. Our Lord is our LIGHTHOUSE! Think of all the times we've been confused, disoriented, afraid, helpless, alone, adrift when suddenly we see His light! We see the Lord and He brings calm out the storm, restores order in our minds, and leads us safely towards the shore.

    Grandchildren are proof that the Lord has great plans for the future!