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From the lighthouse


Part of my staycation was to visit Hook Lighthouse in County Wexford, reportedly the oldest operational lighthouse in the world. Monks from Wales originally built a solid structure followed by Normans who greatly added to it. Modernizers maintained its sturdiness and now its electric lamp is operated from Dún Laoghaire in Dublin. Without stone upon stone, the light would not be seen.

I think of a bride from the recent explosion in Beirut. The chemicals blasted through the city and around Israa Seblani as she was being videoed on her special day. Before the explosion, she wondered if her parents were going to be happy seeing her in a white dress. Beauty was like a lamp that she could see in herself. After the explosion, she saw the damage that happened to Beirut – her lamp was still shining in the face of evil.

Scripture says, “Your eye is the lamp of your body. If your eye is healthy, your whole body is full of light”. It strikes me that Israa had healthy sight and that her whole body – in dazzling white – was full of light, even when she watched her suffering people.

If she had unhealthy sight, she would dwell in despair: “If your eye is not healthy, your body is full of darkness”. She turned to her faith saying: “Thank God, we’re still alive.” She is a lamp giving light with her rays (Luke 11:33-36).

But there is more to the lighthouse. It speaks of our inner strength or backbone of steel. Perhaps I didn’t recognise it as I first looked out the window. Perhaps Israa did’t know it as she asked herself, “Am I going to die?” Perhaps the lamplighter didn’t understand it as the flame diminished. Without a backbone of steel, our warm hearts would not be seen.


11 thoughts on “From the lighthouse

  1. Beautiful, heart rending post Gavin, thank you, Reading this on the 5th anniversary of mum’s death r.i.p I remember my last visit to Ireland in May 2016 with my. brother. After visiting cousins in Clonakilty, Co Cork, Askeaton, Co Limerick (cousin passed away 20th December 2019 r.i.p), all relatives in Co. Donegal (one cousin passed away 21st January 2020) we stayed in a non working lighthouse in Whitehead, Co. Antrim while visiting my brother’s friends. We concluded our trip in Dublin visiting a cousin and friend. It was my intention to visit Donegal and Dublin again in September 2020 as I was away in Gambia when my cousin’s deaths occurred. Hope to visit at some stage God willing.
    Take care Gavin and thanks for allowing me this reflection.:-)

    1. Sure thing Margaret! Glad you stayed in the lighthouse and had an interesting last trip to Ireland. Isn’t it funny how we prompt memories in each other?

      1. Yes Gavin it is and this is one aspect of blogging that I think is priceless.
        I have recently been reading ‘Bursting out in Praise’ and hope to read Bible sections from a big one of my late grandfathers given to me by my aunt. It is New American Bible 1970 with beautiful pictures and a picture and signature of Pope Paul vi at the front. I wonder if it was sold to grandfather by a travelling salesman. I wonder how much it cost him. 🙏🙂

      2. Nice to hear you’re reading ‘Bursting Out in Praise’ Margaret. Great to have written down those experiences when I remembered them! Ah that is wonderful to hear you’re reading your grandfather’s Bible. Perhaps he was mellow like God too? Blessings, Gavin

      3. Yes Gavin, that is quite an apt description of my late grandfather widowed in his ‘40’s but with a strong faith. Drill sense of humour.
        Take care 🙏🙂

      4. Ah, nice Margaret. Perhaps his humour has rubbed off you! We all need a good dose right now 😊

      5. Yes Gavin, I like to think so. People do say ‘you are so funny’ to me sometimes which brightens my day. 🙂 Yes we could Gavin. I have been accessing Ruby Wax online Frazzled Cafe zoom sessions which have helped. Ruby starts and ends her session with mindfulness meditation. 🙏🌞

      6. Wow there’s an idea for every creative performance Margaret! Perhaps people are more open to a way of peace at this time too. Keep being your funny self 😊

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