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.)