My experience at the lighthouse last weekend has given me great opportunity for reflection. We saw three lighthouses over the weekend – the old Point Comfort Light from the moat of Fort Monroe; and both the new and the old Cape Henry Lighthouses. But it is my experience at the old Cape Henry Light that is stuck in my mind and has me thinking.
Old Cape Henry Lighthouse is open to the public. We went through security to gain access to the military post where it is located; paid our $5 National Parks fee to enter the light; and walked the 74 steps up the hill to stand at the base of the light. It was fully my intention to enter the lighthouse and walk the steps up to the level of the great light where I would be able to see out over the waters of Chesapeake Bay.
Only, when we got that far my husband – cautious of heights – said “I’ll wait here,” and he sat down on a bench. I proceeded forward and entered the door of the lighthouse. I looked up to see a narrow, metal, spiral staircase as far as I could see. I had to wait for two others to complete their descent before I could even think of beginning an ascent. I asked a little hesitantly as they reached the floor, “Is it worth it?” “Oh, yeah,” they said, “Only it’s a little freaky at the top when you have to go by ladder the rest of the way.”
My own fear of heights made up my mind for me. I was not going to climb several hundred feet of narrow, metal, winding staircase only to have to mount a ladder to continue the climb, no matter how much I wanted to see the beauty of the sights such a height would afford me. My fear of heights and an even greater fear of ladders kept me close to the ground.
I slowly walked around the lighthouse and, in faith, imagined what I would be able to see if I had not been filled with fear. I imagined how this light for centuries has been a beacon to seafarers so they might find their way through the fear of difficult weather or darkness of night. This light provided the way. This light offered safety.
And I began to think about where I looked for the Light that guides me, allows me to overcome my fear, provides a way for me, and offers me safety in my daily life. Jesus told those who followed him: “You are the light of the world.” The shock in that message is that means you and me! WE are the light of the world! Do we believe it? And, if we do believe it, do we act like it?
My desire, my fear, my imagination, and my faith has caused quite a stir in me. It’s grace at work asking me to face my fears and see how I can be a light to the world. Are we allowing the Light that is Christ to shine through us so that others may see? How are we doing with that?