Intimacy, Beauty, and Adventure

One of my favorite Christian books is The Sacred Romance, by Brent Curtis and John Eldredge. I first read this book almost twenty years ago, have re-read it, and it still holds a special place in my mind and heart. Here is an excerpt:

Come, all you who are thirsty,
come to the waters,
and you who have no money,
come, buy and eat!
Come, buy wine and milk
without money and without cost.
— Isaiah 55:1

The Sacred Romance calls to us every moment of our lives. It whispers to us on the wind, invites us through the laughter of good friends, reaches out to us through the touch of someone we love. We’ve heard it in our favorite music, sensed it at the birth of our first child, been drawn to it while watching the shimmer of a sunset on the ocean. It is even present in times of great personal suffering—the illness of a child, the loss of a marriage, the death of a friend. Something calls to us through experiences like these and rouses an inconsolable longing deep within our heart, wakening in us a yearning for intimacy, beauty, and adventure. This longing is the most powerful part of any human personality. It fuels our search for meaning, for wholeness, for a sense of being truly alive.

However we may describe this deep desire, it it the most important thing about us, our heart of hearts, the passion of our life. And the voice that calls to us in this place is none other than the voice of God.1

For many years, I have accepted Isiah’s call to “come to the waters.” Living near the Great Lakes for much of my life, that’s an attainable goal for me. Especially now, as for the past 33 years I’ve lived in a historic Great Lakes port in Wisconsin. I’ve taken my inborn need to seek intimacy, beauty, and adventure to the shores and islands of these majestic bodies of water. And for over 35 years, I’ve used my photographic talent to make and share images of Great Lakes lighthouses. These days, I do it online at places like Pinterest and  Instagram.

Lighthouses, besides being attractive in an aesthetic sense, are often found in incredibly beautiful locations. It’s not just the appeal of the structures themselves that has drawn me, but also a desire to simply visit and revel in the natural beauty of their surroundings.

Lighthouses are also symbolic. They illuminate the darkness, and warn of imminent danger to mariners. They often sound a warning to ship captains to steer clear of the hazards present in their vicinity. They require fuel and frequent maintenance, like any worthwhile endeavor. And if faithfully kept, they provide service for generations.

For over twenty-five years, I have shared my love of lighthouses with others. Lights of the Lakes, my Great Lakes lighthouse slide show, is my humble attempt to share my passion for these wonderful structures with others. In those years, I’ve reached over 4,000 people with my message.

Sometimes I’ve presented Lights of the Lakes in churches. At those times, I stress that the true Light of the World, Jesus Christ, is the real source of the light that dispels darkness. Thus, the context of lighthouses can also be used to advance the message of the Gospel. It has been my pleasure to do so, and I invite you to consider the claims of Christ as you face the realities and limitations of your own life.

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
— John 3:16 (NIV)

I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.
— John 14:6 (NIV)

1Excerpted from Knowing the Heart of God, by John Eldredge. Copyright © 2009, Thomas Nelson, Inc.