The Light Between My Oceans

Have you ever placed a hold for a popular book at the library, and then, when it arrives, you put off reading it until it is due back at the library? You cram your reading of the book into the short grace period? (Clears throat, guiltily). That was me last month. This particular book was one several ladies in my book club wanted to read. I missed the decision-making meeting and was asked to host this book. I acquiesced without really knowing what I was getting myself into. But now, I am so glad that I read The Light Between Oceans by .

It is a simple, beautiful, and tragic story. I won't go into the details of plot, but I was intrigued with the symbolism and thought that it provoked. Isolated on the island of Janus Rock is a lighthouse. It keeps the flame that leads ships between oceans. The island is symbolically compared to a doorway. Here is a rough excerpt from the book (Tom and Isabel are the lighthouse keeper and his new wife):

"You know Janus is where the word January comes from? It’s named after the same god as this island. He’s got two faces, back to back. Pretty ugly fellow?" [-Tom to Isabel.]"What’s he god of?" [-Isabel]
"Doorways. Always looking both ways, torn between two ways of seeing things. January looks forward to the new year and back to the old year. He sees past and future. And the island looks in the direction of two different oceans, down to the South Pole and up the Equator."
[Isabel says of their unborn child:] "Can you hear anything? Is it talking to you yet?" she asked.
"Yep, it’s saying I need to carry its mum to bed before the night gets too cold." And he gathered his wife in his arms and carried her easily into the cottage, as the choir in the lighthouse declared, "For unto us a child is born."

I see as a recurring message throughout the book: the effective release of the past in order to move forward to a bright future. Interestingly enough, as the book proceeds, the characters reverse their view, until they both align in a hopeful manner of living, looking forward to a bright future.

There are moments when we stand in that doorway of life with a decision to either let go of the past and move forward or stay where we are. Thankfully, there is the lighthouse there, illuminating the path between the two. I would say the lighthouse represents moments in life when pure truth is illuminated. That truth is illuminated when understanding from the past collides with a bright view of the future. Additionally, the symbolism of children in the book provides more understanding of this process: the true child represents the Prince of Peace, who brings true peace as we accept and let go of the past, allow ourselves to be healed with peace, and move forward with a fresh view on life and a renewed hope in the future.

I find that there are many moments in life when I am standing in that doorway, sometimes without recognizing it. Then a moment in life illuminates the reasons behind what has happened in the past and presents an opportunity for the future because of choices in the past. This doorway illumination happened for me this week. I don't know all the reasons why I was inspired to commence writing a book over a year ago, but events this week have opened the way to let me see a little more of why. I have some interesting ideas for future books, which I would like to pursue at some future moment. But for this moment, in this doorway, I am supremely grateful for the opportunity that both my past year of writing and a lighthouse moment has opened for me.