Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: TV (10/04/18)
TITLE: My Electric Lighthouse
By Dianne Janak
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Our television, back in the early 1950’s, was my lighthouse when it came into our den of darkness. I had presumed at age five that misery was the only reality of life. I had only one perspective and that was loneliness, fear, and a longing for something I did not yet understand.
Parents fighting, cussing, blaming, and seeming to hate every minute of their lives was all I knew. Now I know and understand it was the addiction to alcohol that colored our home dark. My dad, suffering from post traumatic stress after World War II, came home a different man. He turned to whiskey to hide his pain. It did not work.
I remember loving my lighthouse, as it took me into a different world I didn't know existed. I discovered there was a such a thing as heroes who come after people in trouble. Lassie, the dog who amazed me how he knew to guide people to those who were drowning. I knew we were drowning and longed for a Lassie, but he was a fictitious dog and I had to be realistic. Then came Superman, an ordinary man that turned into a hero who could fly and walk through walls? That was even more encouraging. He was an ordinary man and I wanted him to please come rescue us.
I thought all marriages were like my parent’s who seemed to be destined to live in misery, until I saw Roy Rogers and Dale Evans. When they sang “Happy Trails to You”, I cried inside. Is there such a thing as a happy trail? And will I ever meet anyone like them? Then I found out they were married in real life and had adopted a bunch of kids. My dreams became dreams that they adopted me, and I lived in a house that had love and peace that was never my daily reality. I hated waking up each day and longed for bedtime.
The Mickey Mouse Club brought joyful moments to me. The kids my age, who sang and danced to happy music, seemed to be like a family of friends who really loved each other. Was there such a thing? A sense of belonging to a group of peers? Would I ever find that in real life or was this all fantasy? I memorized all the words to their songs, and danced with them when no one was looking. I remember wanting to believe maybe an agent from Hollywood would be looking in my window and discover me.
I have been a Christian now for forty years. I was lost and Jesus, my superhero, was knocking at the door of my heart for a long time, before I opened it to Him. But He does rescue, not just one time, but every single day He shepherds me by His word, His small still voice, and His forgiveness of my sin and weakness. Those television heroes may have been fiction, but somehow it planted hope in my heart that there was an eternal hero who would steal my heart forever.
I have been married to a good Christian man now for almost fifty years. The trail we have been on was sometimes rocky, sometimes up hill that took lots of energy to climb, but it’s been a happy one with the knowing He has kept us together through all kinds of storms. The white hat Jesus wears has been our compass, and He leads our way.
The church became my family, a club that includes all who follow Him, and the joy of the dance, and the love of the song is greater than anything I would have ever dreamed. I belong to them, as sheep in a pasture belong to each other. If I get off course, He comes to get me. He never leaves me or forsakes me. This club is His body, and I never dreamed my new family would be people from all over the world waiting to live together in our eternal home.
That lighthouse in our den was a beacon of hope for me at a time when there seemed to be no hope.
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