Standing Tall Through It All
I love Lighthouses! They really are fascinating to me. Their purpose and how they’re always situated just off the coastline to safely bring ships to shore, resonates with me so deeply. They stand strong in the midst of a storm and steadily shine the light that is already within them, it does not move or change position.
Before radar, satellite navigation and GPS, lighthouses were vital to keep ships from crashing into hazardous shoals, reefs and rocks. Lighthouses mark dangerous coastlines and give ships safe entries into harbors. They protect ships by sending the light out towards the sea. When sailors see the light, they know to avoid hitting the shore.
No-one wants to endure a storm but once it invades your space, there is no way to avoid it or run from it. The day Caleb died was a beautiful, clear and hot August day, that turned dark, cold and scary in an instant. The sky fell in and darkness consumed me. Everything about my life and the future I thought I would have came crashing down and just like that, I only had 2 living children. It still doesn’t seem real. I sometimes catch myself as I reach for my phone to text or call him or look at the clock and catch myself wondering what time he’ll be home, only to remember in the next moment that he’s gone. I miss Caleb more than words could ever explain and this grief journey is tormenting, but the grief has become a lot more manageable since August 12, 2019 and for that, I am incredibly grateful. Moving closer to a more manageable grief journey “feels” like I’m not as close to Caleb anymore, because the grief has become less heavy over the last 21.5 months. My mind knows that this is untrue, but it feels cruel to my heart.
Picking up the pieces and rebuilding our life is incredibly challenging and painful but God has, and will continue to, carry us through. My faith has definitely been tested and I continue to work through some very difficult struggles, questions and realities with God, but I have never doubted his presence or my trust in Him to hold me up. The only way I have been able to walk through this storm of child loss is because my faith has stood strong through it all, just like a lighthouse.
I have little lighthouses on a shelf in my office, in my living room and even one on Caleb’s headstone that I got for him from Maine. When I see them they remind me to stay focused, stand tall and allow God to keep lighting the way through my darkness. A storm’s waves can be ferocious and so too can the unpredicted waves of grief.
Here are a some of my favorite lighthouse pictures that I have taken from Maine and The Outer Banks. The day we visited Cape Hatteras Lighthouse, a mom called out to her son, “Caleb, come here please.” I turned to look for this boy named Caleb. He stood not to far from us wearing a red shirt with windblown blonde hair. My heart pounded and tears welled up in my eyes wishing my Caleb was there with us. Their large family from grandparents to babies was having their photo taken in front of the lighthouse, so I offered to take it for them so they could all be in it. I knew what a gift it would be to them for them all to be in the photo together. We took this selfie at the Currituck Beach Lighthouse, missing the boy named Caleb who should’ve been there with us.
Have you listened to this mediation on the Calm App? It’s perfect.
By Tamara Levitt
Life is full of unknowns and uncertainties and no matter how hard we try to control things, there’s no way of knowing what’s around the corner. When we face an uncertain future we can get swept away by anxiety and fear and in the process, we can fall into tunnel vision. It’s that fixation on a particular concern or challenge where our focus becomes so narrow that we can’t see beyond it. How can we find stability in those moments of stress and uncertainty and how can we include the bigger picture to support us? Awareness. Seeing the world around us as the world within, where we learn to take in the good, the bad, the beautiful and the ugly. We see it all just as it is. Lighthouses often find themselves in precarious places at the edge of a cliff surrounded by howling winds and shiftings seas and yet no matter the conditions whether sunny days or stormy nights, a lighthouse stands tall through it all. Steady, unwavering and shining its light in all directions. When we’re facing intense times, we need to shift into stability. There’s no way to know what’s going to happen in life and we can be pretty certain that challenges await us in the future. If we remain steady we can meet each moment and like lighthouse, weather any storm.