Lighthouses and Quote of the Week

One of the things I loved about the house we rented this year in the Outer Banks (aside from it being right on the beach and you could hear the ocean all day and all night long) was how it was decorated.

It was very “beachy”. Blues, whites and yellows.

It also had strong “lighthouse” theme.

If I ever had a beach house, I would also have a strong lighthouse presence.

I love lighthouses.

I love what they represent: a guiding light, a warning light.

I always wondered why they weren’t closer to the water ย – and I had asked the guide last year when we visited Currituck Lighthouse: A lighthouse is not a port. It is a warning sign that says “Stay away! You’re getting too close! Get back!”

I love this as a symbol for life. Often we have warning signs way before the actual trouble. We need to pay close attention to them when we first see them and not let ourselves drift too closely to the shore where the danger surely will be. The lighthouse tells us to stay away and it will keep you safe if you let it and adhere to its warnings. ย A lighthouse can also guide you through the darkness so you will always know what direction you are travelling.

And we need guidance, and we need warnings. We need to know when we are dangerously close to the shore. We can’t wait until we are at the shore to turn around – it’s too late – we need to do it ahead of time.

The idea of a lighthouse reminds me of something that Elizabeth Gilbert said in her book “Committed“(Part two to Eat Pray Love) about infidelity: “How many times have we heard someone say, “I wasn’t looking for love outside my marriage, but it just happened.” Put in such terms, adultery starts to sound like a car accident, like a patch of black ice hidden on a treacherous curve, waiting for an unsuspecting motorist…but if you dig a little deeper into people’s infidelities, you can almost always see how the affair started long before the first stolen kiss.” The lighthouse shone, the signal was sent, but they figured they could get closer to land and escape the dangerous shoreline. The truth is, they needed to stop as soon as they saw the first signal – long before they were in a situation where “the innocent first kiss” could happen.

It happens with kids too. So many times parents of my clients will pour their hearts out to me about their child and how their child had gone astray “all of a sudden.” I’m often tempted to say to them, “Well, it wasn’t all of a sudden. It might feel that way, but every journey begins with a first step.”

The guiding light is always there – but you can’t ignore it. You can’t assume that you will be able to navigate the waters better than other sailors, so you can tempt fate by coming dangerously close to the shore. You can’t. You might get lucky occasionally, but is it worth the risk? Just use the lighthouse as your guide!

A lighthouse can also be symbolic that you are close to home – a constant light that welcomes you and will always be there to guide you home. A sign that you are reaching calm waters. It stands tall and can be seen as a sign of hope that a calm harbour lays ahead after perhaps surviving the perils of a dangerous sea.

Zach called me in his room the other night as he was falling asleep and told me he had come up with a lighthouse quote. I guess we have been talking about lighthouses and their meaning (both nautically and in life) since we visited 3 while we were away. Here is his quote:

“Always know where the light is because when you do its smooth sailing ahead.”

When I grow up, I want to fill my Beach home with lighthouses.

I want to make sure that I am always guided by the lighthouses that I can see in the distance if I look carefully enough.


Lighthouses and Quote of the Week — 28 Comments

  1. This was quite frankly, beautiful. I never quite thought about exactly what lighthouses represent, but they way you explained and put it made perfect sense and now really have a newfound respect and love for them. thanks Leah!! ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. Love the pictures of lighthouses and the purpose of a lighthouse.
    Zach’s quote is great!
    Did you see the movie Yours, Mine and Ours? I love the lighthouse in that story and the way they used it at the end!

  3. NC has some of the best light houses!! I love your analogies of light houses and life in general. So true and very wise. I think I’d decorate my beach house with lighthouses if I had one, too! Fantastic post! ๐Ÿ™‚ –Lisa

  4. This is beautiful! I love lighthouses because they remind me of Cape Cod where I have spent almost every summer since I was a kid. I also love that your son wrote down that quote! Great. great post!!
    …I also just figured out that on sites like yours I’m a “no-reply” blogger. Because I have WordPress I’m having a difficult time trying to rectify this!!! Bear with me while I try to fix it!!

  5. Aw, Zach! I love that quote about every journey beginning with a first step, whether a treacherous journey or an uphill climb. I wish we could have climbed the lighthouse we saw last week at Cape Cod but Scarlet wasn’t big enough yet. I guess readiness is important if you do get too close to the warning light…

    • You’ll just have to return to that lighthouse when she is bigger! I love the quote about the first step. It often plays in my mind when I am starting a “new journey!”

  6. Love this post, Leah! I love Zach’s quote – so true. What a smart young man! It’s interesting how we do sometimes ignore those warning signals and keep pushing forward even though we know we shouldn’t. We all need guiding lights and as parents – we need to be that light for our kids.

  7. I love this post Leah and Zach’s quote. I have always loved lighthouses but I love how you’ve described them and all that they represent. And so absolutely true about warning signs and how we need to look carefully but also how we can stand as a symbol of hope.

  8. I love lighthouses, too, and I’ve never seen a “real” one. We have small ones along the river here and a few along Lake Michigan, but nothing to write home about. Your pictures are gorgeous!

  9. I love your analogy. Its so true that the warning light is there in so many instances before the “trouble” happens or an action off course is taken. How many of us ignore warning lights or the signals that warning lights give us before we are in the danger zone of catastrophe. I love lighthouses too. And pink balls for that matter. I have just loved your posts from the Outerbanks!

  10. I never really thought of the purpose but such a great way to to make us think about choices through the beauty of the lighthouses. Apparently those were some heavy duty convos that touched your son. I loved his quote.

    I’ll be more keen to warnings this week for sure!

  11. Seeing that Currituck lighthouse brought back lots of great memories for me, although I never really stopped to think about all that lighthouses signify. You and Zach captured that so well!

  12. LOVELY Leah… just lovely. Your wise words and analogy are powerful- and SO true! There are always those “first steps” down any road… and too many people sail carelessly close to the shore with those steps.

    Thank you for this reminder for not only them, but we ALL must be alert to dangerous decisions every day.

  13. What a beautiful quote and a beautiful post, Leah. I’ve always been drawn to lighthouses. We have many in Maine of course. Every time we see them we talk about how many people they have helped in the past. This post just gives that idea so much more meaning!

  14. I love this post! I love your son’s quote, too! And I love how you’ve pointed out the paradox of lighthouses: They are guiding lights as well as warning lights. I’ve missed some lighthouses in the past–some warning signs that were staring me in the face, but I guess I was too afraid to acknowledge their presence. Denial can be good and bad. Bumping up into the shore metaphorically, has given me invaluable experiences to learn more about myself and about life. As someone who experienced being cheated on, I often wonder how people take the chance and think nothing will happen. They must be in denial as well. Anyway, I feel good knowing I haven’t compromised my integrity or character. I am also now married to my soul mate, someone who is much better matched to who I am. But I digress…loved the post, the insight, and as always, how you incorporate your kids into your writing. I love how family-centered you are!

  15. Great symbolism and photos. Your son’s quote is brilliant ๐Ÿ™‚ We just went to visit the Old Point Loma Lighthouse here near us. It is gorgeous! If you are ever in San Diego…

    Thanks for the inspiring words.

    Karla Twomey
    latest blog post โ€“ Teaching Your Kids about Money: BONUS 5 Awesome resources for you and your kids:

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