by Phillip Vanwinkle
JANUARY 19, 2018

The Parable of the Lighthouses

Good works in the brotherhood are necessary. Sometimes, however, some workers at one place become jealous of another work or worried that a certain work will cause its own to suffer. In an effort to explain that there should not be competition amongst lighthouses we give you:

The Parable of the Lighthouses -  By Phillip Vanwinkle

In a Harbor along a distant southern shore stood a lighthouse. For years ships would come by, see the bright light shining, and steer clear of certain disaster. Ships were so thankful that the town had placed the lighthouse there, because more than once, ships having no light, would wreck crashing violently into the rocks that jutted out from the banks.

The townspeople loved their little lighthouse, they painted it, and they made sure to buy the nicest windows available for it. The ships in the harbor were being spared from disaster. Life was good for the little light house.

Lighthouses love their jobs and love that they can assist ships to arrive at their proper destination harm free. They take joy in knowing that they helped the ships through the seas with no fear of running ashore or being shipwrecked against the sharp rocks. This little lighthouse was so happy to have his place near the shore and to be so well loved by the ships and the townspeople.

This was how things were for quite some time. With time, however, the little lighthouse noticed that further up shore ships were running ashore and many ships were being destroyed as the rocks just north of his harbor were hidden by the darkness.

 The little lighthouse spoke to the town people and said that it would be good for the ships at sea if there was another lighthouse in the North Harbor. The townspeople discussed the matter and it was decided, yes indeed, there was a need for another lighthouse in the dark north harbor.

Plans were made and the townspeople supported the efforts of building another lighthouse. The town had grown and money was now prevalent. Practically all of the townspeople were pleased with the new design of the lighthouse.

When the design was shown to the little lighthouse he too was very excited. This new lighthouse would be great. Because of this new design the lighthouse would be able to shine its light farther into the darkness of the sea. Ships would be able to see through the sea in the North Harbor, but also, the lighthouse was so large that even the North-North Harbor, would receive light.

Oh how this pleased the little lighthouse. “Finally,” he thought to himself, “with a light house this large, in time perhaps all the ships in the sea will be able to see lights shining along the shores, and steer themselves to safety.”

The new fancy lighthouse was built. The Light shined ever so bright, the North Shore was protected at last. Even the North-North Shore was able to see the giant light emanating from the new lighthouse. It truly was a sight to behold. It had a fancy paint job. It had an ultra-bright light. The townspeople spared no expense with this new lighthouse.

Years went by as the two lighthouses stood along the shore each offering the light of protection and salvation to the ships at sea. One lighthouse was small, and generally happy, just keeping to himself and doing the important work of “shining.” The other lighthouse was large and it too was generally happy, knowing his light was shining oh so far out into the sea. Both lighthouses lived in harmony shining and protecting ships from the rocks of destruction along the shore.

After some time a great tragedy happened in the town. A hurricane came ashore and destroyed many of the homes in the town. People were distressed and had to scurry to rebuild their lives. Finances were lost and many of the townspeople couldn’t afford to buy all the fancy “things” for the lighthouses.

Some of the windows in the lighthouses were destroyed in the hurricane. The paint on both lighthouses was peeling and also beginning to fade. The lights needed some annual “tweaking” to keep their brightness and in general, both lighthouses needed some work.

The little lighthouse, drawing from experience, looked at himself, and decided, he could make some of the changes to himself. There were some changes that would help the light to continue to shine brightly and would not be a burden on the townspeople. And so, the little lighthouse began to make the necessary changes. He unfortunately had to lose some of the things that helped him to function more efficiently. He was saddened, but for the current crises, he knew it had to be done.

The light still had to shine; even if it meant it would be a bit more work for the lighthouse on the whole. But it was okay, the little lighthouse understood, and was willing to make the sacrifice so that the light would still be available to shine in the Southern Harbor. Saving the ships was the most important thing to this little lighthouse.

The new, large lighthouse also needed work. The townspeople built this beautiful lighthouse and now, due to the current crisis, they were not able to afford some of the nicer things which the lighthouse was used to receiving. At first the large lighthouse looked within as well and said, “I must make some changes.” And that is what he did. Shining for the ships was very important.

 But soon, the changes were not enough, and the new lighthouse was worried that if something didn’t happen soon then he might have to dim his light, or even worse, turn his light off for a while.

The new fancy lighthouse talked to the townspeople and tried to get them to give him his new paintjob. He wanted his bricks to be nice and shiny, he wanted his windows to be fixed with the double paned and most beautifully dressed windows around. He claimed the ships really were hurting without his having a nice paintjob and fancy windows.

The townspeople wanted to help but they honestly could not. The money they had spent on the crisis that had come upon them would not allow them to afford these things for the lighthouse. They loved the new lighthouse; they just could not give it all the things it wanted.

Soon the large lighthouse heard two ships talking to one another near the North Shore. One said that it had almost crashed into the rocks in the South Harbor. If it hadn’t been for that little shining lighthouse it would have been destroyed for sure.

This conversation gave the new lighthouse an idea and he put the idea into action. Just earlier he had heard some ships talking as they passed by about the problems of the little lighthouse; how it needed some windows, and it too needed painting. But, he thought, if the townspeople helped the little lighthouse  then they would never be able to afford his own new paint and his own fancy windows and so the plan was carried out.

 Soon he told the townspeople that the problems for the little lighthouse were really too big for it to handle. He tried to reason with them that since his light was bigger  it was really the only one that was necessary.  But the townspeople did not buy into that. They loved both of their lighthouses.

The little light house was struggling, but it was still shining. The ships were still being saved from destruction along the shore and for the most part he had learned to live with the worn out paintjob and the blown out windows. After all, the light was still shining, ships were being saved, and that was all that mattered to him.

But, it was not so for the new lighthouse. No, it had to have its fancy windows and nice paintjob. And so the plan had to be changed a little bit. Since he knew the town saw the good of both lighthouses he had to make the little lighthouse look like it was no longer shining or being helpful to the ships. In fact, he needed them to think that the little lighthouse had become a hindrance to the townspeople.

As some of the townspeople came to see the large lighthouse he secretly began talking bad and disparagingly about the little lighthouse to them. These few townspeople heard these rumors, how that “the little lighthouse was turning its light off,” and “how that the little lighthouse must have been stealing electricity from the good townspeople, in order to keep his light shining.”

The townspeople that heard this rumor never went to question the little lighthouse, they never asked if the story was true. Instead these few townspeople went to the other townspeople and spread this vicious rumor… this lie.

Soon enough the townspeople were all in a frenzy; so upset that this little lighthouse would ever do such a thing. A town meeting was called to discuss the matter. Still, no one cared to go ask the little lighthouse about the matter. Hours went by in the town meeting and it was decided; they would tear down the little lighthouse and they would use the parts or sell the parts from it to help out the new lighthouse in the North Harbor.

And it was so. With axes and saws, hammers and drills in hand; brick by brick and board by board they dismantled the little lighthouse.

A victory party was thrown, a new paintjob was given to the new (and only) lighthouse, fancy windows were installed, they used many of the parts from the little lighthouse to strengthen the new lighthouse. The townspeople sold the bricks and the remaining windows from the little lighthouse. They used the money to buy the new lighthouse all the fancy things he desired. And at last the new lighthouse was happy.

The next night, following the celebration of the new and improved lighthouse, a terrible storm came up quite unexpectedly. Ships were caught in the South Harbor. Since there was no light to guide them, unfortunately for the town and the ships, many ships would meet their demise.

Over the next few months and years, many ships were lost along the southern shores. Thousands and thousands of ships were toppled, overturned and smashed by the rocks; having no light to guide them.

But… at least the lighthouse in the North got its fancy paintjob.

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