Towering over the buildings in Pier Village is the St. Simons Lighthouse, one of the nation’s most accessible guardians from the past. Only five light towers survive in the state of Georgia, a monument to a time when the coast — its residents and visitors — were protected. The beacon that cries to ships to avoid the rocks of the coast also shouts warnings about the rocks that plague our souls. We bask in the warmth of the protected time of vacation where no business can interrupt, no happenstance can heckle, no incident can intrude. Is it any wonder that we long for a peace that passes even our own understanding?
The stroll near the beach at St. Simons speaks to peace and protection, but it also connects us with the past. In addition to the old lighthouse, St. Simons is the home of one of Georgia’s oldest churches. Both John and Charles Wesley performed missionary work on the Isle, the former serving as the official Anglican minister of the colony. On the streets of this isle, the present coincides with the past rather than battling it.
We spend much of life with the present being dictated by the future. Tomorrow’s vision mandates the requirements of today’s bottom line. We consistently toss aside the present because the future promises more technology, more ease of living, more satisfaction, more wealth. Tomorrow holds such promise that it is not just that we are discontent with the present, it is almost inevitable that we do not even want a connection with the past.
As we prepare to pack and leave the rocky beach of the Island of St. Simons, secretly tuck these three souvenirs into your suitcase. Take home the memento of peace, gleaned in spite of the circumstances of life. Stow away the relic of protection. Use it to place buoys around life’s desperate waters, dictating the path your ship will sail. Wrap carefully the delicate gift of the past, allowing it to coincide with your present, providing your todays with purpose, stability and fulfillment.
Make every day a walk along the beach.
— Tom May is the Minister of Discipleship at Eastside Christian Church in Jeffersonville. He is an adjunct instructor in the Communications Department at Indiana University Southeast.