Keeper of the Light
When we’d driven just about as far as the blacktop would take us, we found ourselves at what felt like the edge of the world. Surrounded by blue sky and dunes of waving beach grass, the beach stretched before us. The seemingly ancient lighthouse stood tall as gulls circled overhead, their sharp eyes watching for a chance to swoop in and grab the forgotten remnants of a sandwich.
We grabbed towels and blankets and coolers and shovels and buckets and kids and began the slow climb up the impressive dunes. We paused at the top to take in the scene that had been hidden from view just moments before. A wide expanse of sand sloped from dunes to sea. The waves of the ocean looked as if they were in the cooling-off period after an argument. We claimed our spot in the shadow of the lighthouse and throughout the day, I found myself wondering what it would have been like to be a lighthouse keeper.
I felt like that role would have been all-consuming. Mostly isolated from society, days would have been spent trimming wicks, replenishing fuel, winding clockworks, and cleaning lenses or windows. A day full of monotonous tasks before collapsing into bed, counting the few minutes before it would all need to be done again.
It seems like it might have been a thankless job. One of those roles goes unnoticed until something goes wrong. And if something went wrong, there would have been seriously tragic consequences. So truly, all those daily menial tasks added up to a heroic existence, saving the lives and livelihoods of sailors and merchants, and fishermen.
I suddenly related to this anonymous lighthouse keeper. The early days of motherhood are filled with bottle washing and diaper changing and booboo kissing. The later days are filled with dinner cooking and clothes cleaning and homework helping.
We fall into bed at the end of a day full of repetitive tasks, completely exhausted and counting the minutes before we do it all over again. It can absolutely feel monotonous. It can definitely be isolating. And most often, it feels pretty thankless.
But eventually, all those long days add up to short years. And before you know it, you’ve raised an actual whole human being. One who has grown and thrived and flourished because of all the work you’ve done behind the scenes. One with the potential to shine their light–that same light you’ve tended and nurtured–into this dark and hurting world and change it for the better.
And when you think about it like that, it sounds pretty amazing. Heroic even.
So, mama? Be encouraged in the meal prepping and the lunchbox packing and the endless chauffeuring. You are seen. Just keep going. Day by day by day. Those daily tasks add up to an incredibly important job. You are the keeper of the light.