This was originally posted on October 16, 2008. Reposted with permission from the author. Well, I'm the author. And I gave permission to myself.
Tennessee (Live) - The Wreckers
1000 Miles Away - Hoodoo Gurus
We ate lunch Tuesday at a little restaurant called Bandon Boatworks in Bandon, Oregon. Its existence thrives on the view from its western windows, which look directly out to the town's centerpiece, the Bandon Lighthouse.
This is the first lighthouse I've ever seen.
The view of this inlet, of the Pacific, of this lighthouse, stirred a range of emotions, all which likely speak more to my psychology than to the view itself.
As we have driven up the coastline over the past two days, often driving mere feet from the edge of huge cliffs, staring out into the vast blue eternity of the Pacific, I've felt two seemingly countervailing forces: yearning and loneliness. Something about being able to stare into a place where the blue of the horizon barely distinguishes itself from the blue of the sky, but knowing how much is out there in The Great Beyond makes one yearn. I look out and think how little I know, how little I've seen, how little I am. Were I raised on this coast, I'm conifdent I would have hopped on a boat by now and made my way out there. Perhaps just to fish, but maybe to see distant lands. All I know is, you look out there, and suddenly your own backyard feels confined, like a prison.
Yet... it's also so very lonely. I look out into that emptiness and am so powerfully grateful to be surrounded (metaphorically, not physcially) by loved ones, family, friends. That ocean is huuuuuge. Isolating.
These two feelings -- yearning and loneliness -- are sisters.
You can't long for something more, something different, something better, without a willingness to leave behind those things that make you comfortable. Finding success (or change) requires neglecting the safety of home, of confinement. At some point, if you yearn strongly enough, you're willing to pay that toll of loneliness to get where you long to be.
It's lonely at the top, they say. It's probably lonely trying to climb there, too. (Or, to keep from mixing metaphors, it's lonely trying to sail there, too.)
Human nature is to yearn, to carry this longing to be more, do more, see more. But some must remain ashore, shine a light out into the vast darkness, and be anchors on which others can depend. Those who have the courage to go out into the ocean of possibility earn my respect. But those who work the lighthouses are the true heroes.