If you’ve ever been to my mom’s house, you could tell instantly she has an affinity for lighthouses. But did you ever realize that my mom, herself, is a lighthouse?
The first lighthouses, for instance the Pharos in Alexandria built in 200 BC, indicated where the safe harbor was located. As transatlantic crossings became more popular, lighthouses were built to guide ships along the coastline. There are even directional lighthouses, that when you are lined up perfectly, they appear as if on top of each other. We typically think of lighthouses that warn sailors of rocky shoals or dangerous cliffs in a storm.
My mom was all of these. Before she married Ernie, our home used to be safe harbor for women who needed a place to live while they got back on their feet. We lived in a humble 2 bedroom apartment, so the women would sleep in my bedroom, on the bottom bunk. And a few weeks/months later, they would move on and someone else would come live with us. My mom was a safe harbor to those who were experiencing stormy seas.
You learn a lot about lighthouses when you live with Mom. You learn that lighthouse keepers would wind up a mechanism that rotated around the light source. As this mechanism rotated around the light, it reflected the light so much so some beams would reach 20 miles out to sea. My mom was a lighthouse. She reflected the Light that was in her.
I mentioned lighthouse keepers. Before engineers found a way to automate the lamps, oil, and lenses, lighthouse keepers kept grueling hours. First and foremost, they lit the lamp at sunset and put it out at sunrise. If you ever bunked with my mom, you know she keeps strange hours. I’ll never forget the first time I realized this. We were still in the apartment and I woke up early and went to her room. She wasn’t there. Being still young, I admit I was a little afraid. I went downstairs and found her, sitting in front of the fire, already reading her Bible, well before sunrise.
When she married Ernie and they bought the house, she still kept her early hours. We didn’t even check in her bedroom anymore in the mornings. No matter how early you got up, Mom was already on the patio, reading. Reading her Bible, reading her devotionals, writing in her journals, or praying. If you went out to be with her, she never said a word. You never said a word. You didn’t have to. You just knew she was praying someone through a stormy sea or praying for guidance and direction for a lost soul.
She never did any of this for praise. The lighthouse doesn’t stand as a testament to itself. In Matthew chapter 5 we read, “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” My mom did these things to reflect the Light that was in her. May her lighthouse-life be a testimony and give glory to our Father who is in heaven.