…the parched land shall become a pool, and the thirsty lands springs of water…(Isaiah 35:7)

Strong and Faithful Amid the Storms

Thoughts from a Visit to Lighthouses on the Oregon Coast

By Eric Chaffey


Cape Blanco Lighthouse

A couple of weeks ago I took a little vacation trip up to Ashland, Oregon and the Oregon Coast. The trip was very restful and energizing. The gentle rhythm of the waves rolling in is one of the greatest lullabies ever. The visit with beloved friends was wonderful as well. But one of the most powerful images that I came away with was that of the lighthouse.

I have always loved lighthouses. I think probably my first exposure to them was from the 1977 Walt Disney  movie, “Pete’s Dragon.” I’m something of an incurable romantic at heart. And of all the images from that movie, the ones that are the most meaningful and memorable to me are when Helen Reddy is leaning against the railing singing, “Candle on the Water” and the image of the lighthouse in the storm.

Of course “Pete’s Dragon” is a brilliant work of fiction. Very picturesque and beautiful. The reality of a lighthouse keeper’s life and what was required of them is much less romantic. Also the conditions that face the lighthouses themselves. One of the lighthouses that I visited was at Cape Blanco. Even today it’s still pretty isolated. It is on the western most point of the state of Oregon, and is situated six miles west of Highway 101 between the towns of Port Orford and Langlois. Before the days of modern transportation and roads it was even more isolated. Every once in a while, a ship would arrive with supplies, books, and news from the outside world.

There was no running fresh water. It was all collected from the rain gutters into cisterns. Another thing about Cape Blanco of significance is the wind. The day that I was there, the sustained winds were clocked around 25 miles per hour and it was quite foggy. Often times it would get even more windy with sustained winds in the 65-75mph range with gusts over 100mph. In the old days before modern plumbing, Ropes were strung that went from the light keepers house to the outhouse. One would have to hold onto the rope on an especially windy day in order to not be blown off into the sea.

But amid all the wind, fog, rain and isolation, there is one constant. The constant turning of the fresnel lenses that cast the light from the lamps out to sea, and the constancy of the light. Every few seconds, the lens turned and the light was seen as much as 23 miles out at sea. Mariners would be able to tell which lighthouse they were seeing based on the interval between flashes. They needed that light as a navigational point, as well as to steer them away from the dangerous rocks close to shore. The keeper of the light had to make sure that there was enough oil in the lamp at all times.

At times it seems to me that our lives are like that of the lighthouse. We are bombarded by storms and gales. Sometimes those storms are from things that we cannot control. The pressures and the stresses placed upon us. Sometimes those storms of our own making. For me particularly, my anxieties and insecurities. Sometimes it seems like the very gales are going to level us. Yet always and in every place the need is there to be constant, steady and strong in the face of danger.

We too have a keeper who will keep us in wicks and oil, as well as shore up the weak places. With his love and guidance, we can stand firm against the storms of life, and remain a constant and steady guiding light, leading the mariners safely into the harbor, where the pilot takes over and brings them home.

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5 Responses to “Strong and Faithful Amid the Storms”

  1. Jon said:

    Inspiring overview of observations about the storms of human life – now go deep. From your last paragraph above, if you feel good about it, I am interested to hear specifically how have you seized such strength enough to overcome challenges through the different types of storms you mentioned (anxieties, insecurities)?

  2. Rex Goode said:

    Jon, I think you ask an excellent question. A nice follow up post maybe, Eric?

  3. Rex Goode said:


    Thanks again for another great post from the heart. I envy your friends getting to see you. 🙂

    I, too, love the Oregon coast and its lighthouses. I loved Pete’s Dragon too, especially “Candle on the Water.”

    To me, there are few things better than an Oregon coast storm. I’ve camped in a couple of them. It can be scary, but also awesome. I always feel safe, though–safe on the inside, at least.

  4. Rex Goode said:

    Eric, I finally fixed the image upload problem. Sorry about the delay. I’ve been swamped with work. I put in a picture of Cape Blanco Lighthouse, but you can change it if you had another in mind.

  5. Eric Chaffey said:

    Hi Rex, thanks for your input and to you as well Jon. That’s a great idea for a followup. Thanks for putting in the picture. I like it. I’m going to add a second one of Heceta Head lighthouse. Thanks again.

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