Friday, September 04, 2015

Beacon Keepers

Is your beacon lit?
There's a scene in the film The Return of the King when the kingdom of Gondor is in dire need, and they light the chain of emergency beacons to summon aid from the neighbouring kingdom.

This is my favourite scene from the whole trilogy, and I always get a bit emotional when I watch each beacon light up, creating a chain across the mountains.

Thanks to the beacons, and the diligence of the beacon keepers, the message gets through and aid is sent on it's way.

"Beacons are important, but they're also lonely mountaintop places."
A few years ago, in celebration of the Queen's diamond jubilee, the beacons were lit all across the UK. Our nearest one was visible from our upstairs windows, and the day before it was due to be lit we climbed the hill to find a giant pile of pallets and brush standing ready to be lit. Whilst it wasn't quite as dramatic as the scene from The Lord of the Rings, it was exciting when darkness fell and we watched from a distance as the fire blazed into life.

The Jubilee Beacon we visited...
Beacons are important, but they're also lonely mountaintop places. They encourage people from afar, but the beacons themselves aren't accessible for many.

In this way I think they make a good metaphor for our creative gifts. How often do we feel a little lonely on our mountaintop, steadily building our beacon ready to be lit?

It can feel isolating putting in the hard graft, crafting our words into coherence, making our art - whatever it looks like. Placing our talents like the wood of the beacon, ready to catch fire. Being a beacon keeper.

And yet, if those manning the beacons gave up then the chain would be broken. The message wouldn't get through to those who need it. It's important work! Your gifts and talents are important too. Your contribution is for the benefit of others, like a beacon. As much fun as it can be to pile your wood up, the real benefit is for those who will see it, however far away they may be.
"If those manning the beacons gave up then the chain would be broken."
Your gifts are for others...
Whatever your gift, it's ultimately not for you. We're given treasures to give away - to hold in open hands - even though that can be a scary and vulnerable place.

Fear of criticism and rejection can tempt us to stay closed, to withhold ourselves, but our talents are needed - they're beacons for someone.

A link in a chain. A lighthouse. A landing strip. Cats eyes on a road. They provide direction and encouragement for others.

So take heart, take courage and light your beacon. Put your gifts out there where they can be seen by others.

Your talents and abilities are given for a reason, your contribution is needed - they're a beacon. And as Dr Seuss put it so well:

"You're off to great places
Today is your day
Your mountain is waiting
So get on your way"

Your mountain is waiting, it's time to build your beacon.
"So take heart, take courage and light your beacon."


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Anonymous said...

Luke, that's great. Real encouraging stuff. Andy McNeill

Luke Strickland said...

Thanks Andy! Good to hear from you!

Linda said...

Very inspiring post, thank you! :)

Luke Strickland said...

Thanks Linda, appreciate you dropping by!