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 – 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. 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.