Lawson writes . . . sharing thoughts and memories

February 25, 2010


Filed under: Uncategorized — lawsonjolly @ 5:00 am

Late one Friday evening I journeyed with three fellow students to the Outer Banks of North Carolina.  We had to drive all night to begin our weekend adventure.  We had become excited about the over 600 ships that had sunk off this coast.  The area was known as the Graveyard of the Atlantic.  Much has changed over the last 50 years in that area, but our inquiry at that date assured us of the opportunity to explore some of these sunken and wrecked ships.

It was a cold November night.  Certainly, it would be better to explore in warmer weather, but at that age you act more on impulse than practicality.  I must confess that I do not remember many of the names of the locations we were to visit.  I do know that Cape Hatteras led the list, but there were other names such as Ocracoke, Diamond Shoals, Nags Head, Portsmouth Island, Boddee Island, Cedar Island, Pea Island, and Oregon Inlet.  This is a 200-mile stretch of narrow barrier islands. We did not have a determined location, and I do not know where we stopped after we had a very early breakfast in Elizabeth City.

What I do know is that all these areas were not connected by a highway, and some did not even have ferry service to them.  In conversation with a man at the docks, he indicated that we might see more in an area that was not easily accessible and visited often by the curious.  That sounded good to us.  I do not know what small barrier island we went to, but arrangements were made for our transportation there.

This is an area of shifting sand bars that lurk under the waters.  The strong currents and hidden shoals can pound a ship to pieces.  Some of the sunken and wrecked ships can be seen on the beach while others are only partly visible above the water.  Still other vessels are completely submerged.  The wreckage to explore can shift through the years, as well as being exposed or unseen depending upon the tide.

Our day was perfect.  A few wrecks were partially visible where we could explore them.  I am sure that now, over 50 years later, many of those are not visible, and probably have been moved by storms as well as being further destroyed.  Yet, for us, it was like being adventurous pirates!

Many of these wrecks occurred because of pirates.  Harbors on the western side of the barrier islands made excellent hideouts for pirates.  The notorious Blackbeard rested his crews and repaired his ships here.  Although this turbulent area of the Atlantic caused many wrecks, the pirates understood that the ships would begin to make soundings and realize that they needed to steer clear of this area and seek safe harbor.

The pirates used placid horses or donkeys with a lantern swinging from their neck, and walked the animals along the beach.  The ships assumed it was a harbor light and they would set sail for the harbor.  Being drawn directly into the strong currents and hidden shoals, they would wreck and the pirates then scavenged the ships.

As our day turned to late afternoon, we realized that a storm was blowing in on us.  As we watched the angry winds and felt the rain, we realized that our rendezvous with our boat would not occur.  Sure enough, we were stranded!  We had no provisions for the night.  We spent a miserable night trying to stay warm and dry.  There was much conversation that night.  One of the conversations among us was the application to life of the false light the pirates used to cause those shipwrecks.

There are many false lights as we travel through life.  Satan has a way of misleading us.  He will project something that seems so very real.  It is only after we have succumbed, and figuratively wrecked, that we realize we had fixed our eyes on lies.  If there be one overwhelming lesson for us, it is that we must be very alert to where we direct our life.  Is it toward a goal that Satan is enticing us to follow?  Or is it a True Light that will definitely bring us to a safe harbor?  That True Light, of course, is the Lord Jesus Christ.  Fix your eyes on any other goal and disaster awaits.  Know Him and know the true passage to life.

“Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith . . . .”  (Hebrews 12:2)



1 Comment »

  1. I love reading about all your adventures, and this one especially is so revealing! I had no idea that you had this repertoire of experiences. You have such a talent of relating these earthly experiences to the Christian life. Thanks for teaching and sharing.

    Comment by Carol Mathews — February 25, 2010 @ 7:39 am | Reply

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