Brightly Beams our Father’s Mercy, From His lighthouse evermore

But to us He gives the keeping, Of the lights along the shore.

Dark the night of sin has settled, Loud the angry billows roar

Eager eyes are watching longing, For the lights along the shore.

Trim your feeble lamp my brother, Some poor sailor tempest tossed

Trying now to make the harbor, In the darkness may be lost.

Let the lower lights be burning, Send a gleam across the wave,

Some poor fainting, struggling seaman, You may rescue: you may save.

~Poem by Phillip P Bliss 1838-1876

I was “some poor fainting, struggling seaman” when the phone rang that afternoon.  On the other end, I heard the gentle voice of my friend, and a feeling of relief washed over me in pure gratitude for the calming reassurance that hearing her voice gave me.  She couldn’t have known how I wished I could talk to her that afternoon.  [My “eager eyes (were) watching longing.”] I mean, she knew I was struggling because we kept in touch by email, but I never expected her to call because I know she is very busy.  The roiling turmoil going on in my breast at that very moment she called was getting louder and harder to control.  And that is when the phone rang and she “Sent a beam across the way.”

We talked, and I cried. I cried because of what was going on in my life and she offered me the reassuring coos of a friend much like a mother with her child…”let it out”…”it’s okay to cry”…and on and on as if she had nothing better to do than to be with me and “hold my hand.”  She was the “light along the shore…” I was the “sailor tempest tossed…”

Though it took a while, I finally calmed down and felt a little better.  Feelings of gratitude washed over me like waves of the sea washing on the shore.  In her gentle way, she had taken the “debris” of my situation and reassuringly put it into perspective for me.  I was able to breathe again.  I was steadier.  She “sent a gleam across the wave…” and I was so thankful for her call.  She couldn’t have known how I felt as we hung up…almost as if God’s hand had come down from Heaven and steadied the pitching of my “ship” and calmed my stormy seas.  She was an instrument in His hands that day to still my troubled heart and sooth my anxious soul.

In this moment of my life, through the inspiration and love of my friend, I was able to see the “lower lights burning along the shore.”  She was and is the guardian of a sacred trust: to lift up the hands that hang down and strengthen the feeble knees. (See Hebrew 12:12)  Her actions let me know that the Lord was with me in my time of need, just as He promised in Isaiah 41:10:  Fear not, I am with thee, be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.  She reached out and became the instrument of God through which the balm of Gilead was administered. It was in this way that God chose to strengthen me. Through the kindness and love of another.

Kindness can never be underestimated.  It is the action through which Charity is administered unto the children of men.  “Paying it forward is the only way I can “pay it back.”

Thank you, my friend…I love you.