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A lighthouse visit

\When I think of a lighthouse, I picture a large structure with a revolving light near the shore of the ocean or a large lake. A couple years ago I had the good fortune to visit the lighthouse in Dunkirk, N.Y. Our class made arrangements for a tour of the facility while we were in town for a class reunion.

We had a wonderful time climbing the stairs to get a look out on the water. It was a little tricky to navigate those twisting stairs, but I managed. Lake Erie has always been a dangerous lake with many storms. That lighthouse must have guided many a ship home during its tenure.

Recently something crossed my desk that said, “Don’t forget that maybe you are the lighthouse in someone’s storm.” That, reminded me of a song that my husband and I used to sing in church. The children often sang with us, but I am sure this one was done after the children left for college which is why it was just the two of us.

The song is called, “The Lighthouse” by Ronnie Hinson. I found this song for us in a book that I purchased. I never heard it sung, but when I tried it, it spoke to me in a way that I felt we had to try it.

The chorus says, “And I thank God for the Lighthouse! I owe my life to Him, For Jesus is the Lighthouse – And from the rocks of sin – He has shone a light around me That I could clearly see; If it weren’t for the Lighthouse, where would this ship be?”

There were times that I needed that lighthouse. I grew because someone took the time to care.

The song goes on to say that people want to tear that lighthouse down. The big ships do not need it any more. Yet, it says he once was guided to shore by that very lighthouse and owed his life to that lighthouse.

With modern technology lighthouses are becoming obsolete. Instruments guide the ship when it is foggy or when visibility is limited. Somehow after visiting the local lighthouse, I was able to see its value. Thankfully no one tore that lighthouse down. A committee interested in preserving history took on the task of keeping it afloat. They raised money and man the lighthouse for tours. Is it really necessary in this day and age? Probably not, but there it stands at The Point a poignant reminder of days past.

Many times, during my travels we saw lighthouses. Some of them along the Atlantic Coast are still in operation. They are always picturesque. Lighthouses are the focus of postcards, Christmas cards, and paintings. I am not sure what it is but people are always drawn to lighthouses.

Maybe you do not think of yourself as being a lighthouse. You may be out there standing tall while others shrink from the chore. I vowed that I would not shrink from my faith for it is my faith that has gotten me through the death of two husbands.

When I feel down, I remember the good times. I know the Lord is always with me so I am really never alone. Can I be the lighthouse for someone else? Maybe I have been that already. I have counseled others who lost loved ones. When I was at Hospice House working, I freely shared my faith if the person indicated they were interested. I shared my faith with them and told them how I made it through. When you are there you not only help the person who is the patient, but you help the family as well.

Following the death of my first husband I collected Bible verses. I found it soothing to be able to recite them. When I was involved in my bout with cancer, I used those memorized verses for good. I repeated them during my testing. One of the physicians asked me how I could be that still. I told him about repeating Bible verses and singing (in my mind) the old hymns. That is how I was able to stay still.

While I was collecting the verses, I had no idea what I would do with them. Finally, I used those verses for a book about grieving. One night while watching a television program that thought came to me. I gathered the verse inserting things that meant a lot to me. Hopefully, my verses have helped others as they helped me.

Ann Swanson writes from her home in Russell, Pa. Contact at hickoryheights1@verizon.net.

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