Lightship (wind and rain and holding your place)

What can I say except that, as a mother of four, I spend inordinate amounts of time reading children's books and quite often I hear God's gentle quiet voice speaking to me through them.  This keeps me convinced that God will use whatever medium available to speak to us!  In light of hurricane Sandy's approach, I thought I'd share a favorite with you, Lightship, by Brian Floca.

Lightships were used in places where a permanent light house couldn't be built.  The ship and crew "held their place" during good and bad weather to serve as a guide to other ships.  Something about the lightship's calling deeply resonated with me and my sense of calling.   

In the past year, since the twins were born, my spiritual images have been filled with boats and water and floating - sinking and swimming became a metaphor for trust as grace has begun to feel like an ocean that surrounds our every waking moment.  For me, the spiritual journey has become one of learning to let go and rest in that grace. 

So here it is, minus the glorious pictures (check it out at your library if you get a chance - it also has a great section on the history of light ships).

*   *   *   *   *
Lightship, by Brian Floca

Here is a ship that holds her place.
She has a captain and a crew,
helmsman, oiler, engineer
deckhand, fireman, radioman,
messman, cook and a cat.

She does not sail from port to port.
She does not carry passengers or mail or packages.
She holds to one sure spot as other ships sail by.
She waits.

Her crew lives in small spaces, works in small spaces.
Always there is the smell of the sea . . . and the rocking of the waves.
Always they hear the creaking of the ship and the slow
slap, slap, slap of water on the hull.

Down below deck,
deep inside the ship,
there is the smell of fuel and machinery.
There are motors, engines, generators.
The oiler and the engineer keep them clean and running.
They keep the whole ship powered.

Above the deck there is a horn.
High on each mast there is a light.
The crew keeps them ready. 

The higher the waves,
the harder the work;
the harder it is to climb the stairs,
to check the charts,
to drink the coffee,
to visit the head.

But the crew keeps the lightship anchored.
She holds her one sure spot.
They keep her anchored in sun and calm . . .
and snow and cold.
They keep her anchored when other ships
come closer than they should.
And if the waves move her off her mark,
 . . . the helmsman moves her back.
The crew resets the anchor.
Again the lightship holds her one sure spot.

She does not sail from port to port.
She does not carry passengers or mail or packages.
She holds to one sure spot as other ships sail by.
She waits.

And when the fog
comes creeping in,
the crew knows what to do.
They sound their horn, so loud the whole ship
They shine their light,
so bright
it reaches all around,
far and wide.

Then other ships sail safely,
because the lightship marks the way
through fog and night,
past rocks and shoals,
past reefs and wrecks,
past danger.

Other ships sail home safe . . .
because the lightship holds her place.

*   *   *   *   *

When storms come and the fog rolls in we all need something or someone to shine light on our path, something or someone to hold us to the course we were made for. Tonight, as the winds surge and rain pounds I wonder, who or what is holding you? 

Praying you will remember and hold tight to the One who anchors your soul.  May your life shine like the Lightship and may others "sail home safe" because you hold your place. 

If you want to read more about learning to let go and float in the ocean of grace, check out Learning to Float (lessons in the art of surrender).

This link is being shared with Imperfect Prose around the theme of "Light."


  1. Love this! I can't say that I had ever heard of lightships, just lighthouses.

    Visiting you from On, In and Around Mondays. Thank you for sharing this beautiful story and reminder of who our lightship always is.

    1. Thanks! So glad you stopped by, I have to figure out how to add the button soon!

      I know, it's a fascinating idea to me and the book has some good history on it.

  2. what a lovely book! i love all the hidden messages for me too, as a mama in my children's books :)