by Cynthia Ruchti
Last fall, my husband and I spent three getaway days in Duluth, MN, and along Lake Superior’s north shore. We visited Split Rock lighthouse, at one time the guardian for what was said to be the most dangerous stretch of water in the Great Lakes. No fewer than twenty-nine ships were battered during a single storm near that area in 1905, two of them foundering on the shore. Within five years, the Split Rock lighthouse had been built and began operation on a high, windy point, sending its beam as far as twenty-two miles and its siren blast–later a foghorn sound–for five.
Hundreds of thousands of tourists visit the now decommissioned lighthouse each year. It’s kept in pristine condition, restored to what it might have looked like in the 1920s, including the light keepers’ houses.
We toured the simple homes hugging the rugged coast, noting the bookkeeping journals, the narrow staircases, the sparse furnishings, and on the grounds the visible reminders of how the construction materials for the remote lighthouse had to be hauled by hand up the 160 foot cliff-face from the water below.
We stopped at all the historical markers and posters explaining the construction of the lighthouse, the history of the Great Lakes shipping industry, the stats about storms and shipwrecks and prices of the day and the families that endured the solitary life and round-the-clock tending of the lighthouse.
Only a handful of tourists at a time could climb the narrow, steep spiral staircase to view the lens room. We took our turn, awed by what we saw.
Its unique design of concentric circles allowed it to send a faithful, steady, strong beam of light two dozen miles into the night using a minimal light source and less bulky lens. Agile. Life-saving.
“Let your light so shine,” reads Matthew 5:16.
Like that? Faithful in hostile weather? Tended devotedly despite the lonely, rugged setting? Using a small light in creative ways to magnify the impact? Simply but unflaggingly?
“You are the light of the world,” Jesus said. “A city on top of a hill can’t be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a basket. Instead, they put it on top of a lamp stand, and it shines on all who are in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before people, so they can see the good things you do and praise your Father who is in heaven,” Matthew 5:14-16, CEB.
Concentric circles of truth in our writing. Glowing no matter the weather. Faithful even when sequestered away from the rest of the world in order to meet a deadline. Finding creative ways to magnify the impact of what we write. A light that accurately and strongly reflects the Light of the world (John 8:12).