Sunday, November 11, 2012

And I thank God for the lighthouse...

Every once in a while, I'll scroll back through my archives to see what photographs I might have taken a year ago.  Today, I ran across the photo above, taken on 11/11/11, during our anniversary trip.  It's a lighthouse on Lake Michigan in St. Joseph.  Dean was still dealing with the death of his dad and the painful memories of his last days with him, watching him fade away with dementia. 
Our anniversary trip is usually the best week of the year.  But last year, like a boat on the Lake Michigan waters, we felt tossed and troubled.  A stormy sky seemed to hover above us and the comfort we have always found in one another felt strained.  That week's vacation didn't renew us as we had hoped. 
When I ran across this photograph, an old song came to mind..The Lighthouse.

This old song, like so many from my childhood, brings back memories of Sunday nights in church as a little girl.  It soothes my soul like it did then, when my little girl's heart could feel the anointing flowing across that sanctuary with its vaulted ceilings and green padded pews.
More than that, there is a specific memory when I see a lighthouse or hear this old song.  
Dean was a bass player in a Southern Gospel group during our courtship.  On weekends when other teenagers were doing, well I don't know what they were doing, we were at churches where he was playing.  If I was going to date a musician, this was what our dates were going to be.  I'd sit near the front since I usually didn't know anyone while the guys played.  I'd wait patiently while they tore down and then he'd drive me home after church. 
I wasn't a night owl even in those days.  It was true love that inspired me to venture out on those Saturday and Sunday nights.  By the time we'd be driving home, I'd be fighting to keep my eyes open.  This was in the olden days when cars had bench seats so I could scoot right up next to him (what seat belt law?)  He'd put his right arm around me and I'd lean in to him, pretty soon the street lights and the sleepiness would lull me into almost sleep.  Being the sweet guy that he was, Dean didn't try to wake me up.  He let me be quiet and still, maybe it's then I recognized that this was where my peace would always be.  One one night we were driving home from Ohio.  If you've ever driven through Ohio into Michigan, you know that's the ideal place for being a sleeping passenger in a car :)
As I snuggled into my boyfriend's side with my eyes closed, I listened to him singing...

And I thank God for the lighthouse; I owe my life to him...Jesus is the Lightouse and from the rocks of sin, he has shown his light around me that I might plainly see.  If it wasn't for the Lighthouse, where would this ship be...

We were both kids, still in high school.  This was the soundtrack of our courtship.  This was the love song, and it was sung from God to us.  From the lips of my seventeen year old boyfriend, it was the most beautiful sound of my life so far.  And still is.
We've been tossed on stormy seas and spent days underneath gray and threatening skies.  But Jesus has always been there in the storm to guide us safely to harbor.  Last night, I sat in an auditorium watching my forty seven year old husband playing bass and I watched him lift his hands in worship.  Afterward, I snuggled into his side right side and fell asleep remembering those days and overwhelmed at the goodness of God. 
Those stormy skies of a year ago have passed over and we are once again in peaceful waters.  To many people, date nights in old churches and long drives singing southern gospel to pass the time would seem a laughable courtship.  Not much cool about it, I suppose.
But how grateful and humbled I am that my boyfriend sang Jesus to me while I slept. 


ancient one said...

One of my favorite songs.. and I love lighthouses!

Diane said...

Tears roll off my cheeks as I read your post. What precious memories of the early 'falling in love' days of your life. How sweet and rich our lives grow as we face the storms and see the hand of God guiding us through into the light of His mercy. One of the warmest feelings this side of heaven is to be held in the arms of a man who treasures you, cherishes everything about you and continues to do so with even greater affection as the years roll by. We are blessed, sweet Sara.

Margie said...

You're so cute.