A lighthouse spelled the difference between life and death for mariners of yore.
Lighthouses mark dangerous coastlines, hazardous shoals, reefs and safe entries to harbors. They can be a beacon of hope in an endless ocean, marking the end of a voyage. They can assure the traveler a brief respite, a place where he can rest, repair, regroup and refresh himself before he sets sail again. It doesn’t mark the journey’s end, it merely marks an interim haven. For the hope and comfort they provide, lighthouses are invaluable.
Hope is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul
And sings the tune without the words
And never stops at all.
~ Emily Dickinson
You too must have come across many lighthouses during the course of your journey. They must have given you a place to rest and to tend to the callouses on your feet. They must have fed your soul with love, encouragement and hope. By their very presence, they would have helped your bruised and battered spirit to heal so that it became strong enough to walk on.
Or perhaps your lighthouse have been a warning light, guiding you away from danger. They may have pulled you back from the edge of a cliff or come to your rescue when you were drowning.
Better to illuminate than merely to shine; to deliver to others contemplated truths than merely to contemplate.
~ Thomas Aquinas
You owe a debt to all those who have been a lighthouse to you. If you wait for a chance to be a lighthouse to the one who has been one to you, you might wait forever. The chance may come, or may not. It is much safer to pay this debt forward. Be then, a lighthouse to other travelers on the road to their North Star.
The first step to being a lighthouse is to stop hiding your light and to let it shine bright and clear. It may not rival the brilliance of the sun, but it doesn’t need to. When everything is pitch dark, even a small earthenware diya (oil lamp) gives enough light to give hope to a weary traveler. That is the time when the sun, with all his brilliance, is busy lighting up another part of the world.
Use what talents you possess; the woods would be very silent if no birds sang there except those that sang best.
~ Henry Van Dyke
The human heart is full of quagmires and dangerous waters. It has a talent for stirring up fearsome eddies and fierce storms in calm waters. Its fears can rip through a placid landscape and throw up lacerating rocks of doubt on a pristine sandy shore. To navigate such perilous terrains, more lighthouses are always needed.
When you radiate hope, you must first become a conduit for hope. It will pass through you, depositing pools of contentment within you as it flows along. By a strange alchemy, when you give hope to another, you first fill yourself to the brim with it. What you give away is a surplus, an overflow, after your own inner thirst is quenched.
Will you consent to be a beacon too?
Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people will not feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It is not just in some of us; it is in everyone and as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give others permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.
(This quote has been attributed to Nelson Mandela. It is said that he spoke these words during his inaugural speech. According to Wikiquotes, this is not true. This is a quote from Marianne Williamson’s book A Return To Love.)
Beautifully written, you kept me hooked and thoughtful. I hope I’ve provided illumination for a few as others have done for me.
Thank you very much Lynn! Thanks for coming by…!
Beautiful thoughts! Hope is definitely what makes the world go around…
This is so beautiful, Dagny! Well said. I liked the line “Better to illuminate than merely to shine;”. Thanks for sharing.
Thank you Prathima. 🙂
Loved reading this. I was reading it aloud with my teenager niece sitting by my side, and she too loved the way it made her feel about herself and life 🙂 What we give away is overflow, surplus…this is something that will stay with me…..
Thanks Dagny for another thoughtful piece…so full of hope, peace and light.
Beauty Interprets, Expresses, Manifests the Eternal
Marianne Williamson speaks so much wisdom. She had a series of short 5 min discourses via Oprah’s website that I downloaded some years ago. They are absolutely awesome and she has such a lovely soothing voice too. Thanks for reminding me.
She does indeed have a soothing voice! How amazing that you too think so! 🙂
I read in a poem in school..’If Hopes were Dupes, fears maybe liars’…Hope, that thread is all we need no sometimes?
L for loved-Random Thoughts Naba
And I was thinking what will you share with L. Never thought of lighthouse. So simple and yet made me reflect. I wrote on hope only a day back, check it out when you can (A poem ofcourse :D)
Thank you Sfurti!
I loved the quote by Van Dyke … I am lucky And thankful to have so many lighthouses in my life.
You are lucky indeed Rajlakshmi! 🙂
Simple, eloquent and packs a powerful punch, which makes you sit up and take notice. Classic Dagny !
Thank you Sid! 😀
This made such beautiful reading, Dagny. We are privileged to have so many people in our lives that act as lighthouses for us, guiding our paths towards safety and away from danger, All we have to do is to keep ourselves open to their guiding influence.
Your writing makes you a lighthouse for me.
And your words make you one for me Cynthia. Your writing connects deeply with me…. as you know. Thank you …
As always loved this. People do come in our lives as beacons… but the human tendency is to remember whom you helped rather than remember those who helped you.
Never a truer word spoken Janaki. We remember what we did for others, not what they did for us. Alas!
I love love love this post ma’m. .u have said it so beautifully
Thank you Ghata! 🙂
A beacon of hope- so rightly said. I too loved it a lot, as always
Thank you Afshan!
Beautiful thoughts! I truly appreciate all the lighthouses in my life!!
Thank you Roshni!
Awesome post Dagny. It reminds me of my favourite hymn (which I posted about a couple of days back).. “this little guiding light of mine, I am going to let it shine.. and then it goes. “hide it under a bush, oh no, I am going to let it shine”.. and then.. “take my little light round the world, I am going to let it shine,, let it shine all the time let it shine”…
Would you believe it, ‘this little guiding light’was playing in my head all the time I was writing this post. Specially the line- Hide it under a bush, oh no! I’m going to let it shine….
How strange these connections are, aren’t they?
Thank you Arpita! 🙂
I loved this. Brilliant.
At the same time I couldn’t help noticing the contradiction with your earlier piece titled ‘Jinxed’. Lighthouses existed even while you were writing ‘Jinxed’, didn’t they?
Why can’t someone be a ‘lighthouse’ to ‘dementors’, instead of trying to avoid them since they pull you down, as you suggested in the earlier piece? Does a ship floundering on the rocks, pull down a lighthouse? 🙂
There is no contradiction dear friend. All people one knows are not jinxed; nor are they all a ‘lighthouse’. Some are this and some are those. And a large majority are neither.
Prune the jinxed and embrace the lighthouses. Simple enough, isn’t it?
In that case, your views in ‘jinxed’ need to be qualified, to mention that lighthouses, since they are lighthouses, can go ahead and mix around with the jinxed and that the jinxed are not altogether untouchables. You piece is rather categorical otherwise.
The second para of your reply suggests that there is a third state, that is neither jinxed nor lighthouse, but in between where, I gather you assume we all, your readers, reside. The jinxed can pull us down while the lighthouses will haul us up.
But what if you have underestimated me and I am actually a lighthouse? Can I cut the dumb sucker in the middle and directly haul the poor dear (the jinxed) up?
But you know what I actually think? You are wrong. There are no such folk that can be categorized the way you have done. There is a bit of a lighthouse and a bit of a jinxed, in all of us.
Now before I incur your wrath, I’ll beat it from here and leave you be.
You may not agree with my categorization, and that’s perfectly all right with me. 😀
Now you are being obdurate. 😀
I bet I am. 🙂
Sent from my BlackBerry® smartphone
Did you finish ‘C’? I’d suggest ‘Cheeky’, if you haven’t. 😀
I thought ‘cheeky’ was YOUR middle name Achyut! 😀
Loved it.. beautifully written.. shows how beautiful you are.