March 5, 2012

Peace Through the Storm

April 15, 2012 marks one-hundred years since the sinking of the Titanic. It was on that cold night of 1912 in the middle of the Atlantic that hundreds of people lost their lives. Across the decks of the ship rang the cry, "Women and children first!" as the lifeboats were filled and lowered down towards the cold, icy water. This year, Vision Forum Ministries had an essay contest in which you were supposed to write a story of the Titanic, based on that phrase. Though I don't often write stories I decided to go ahead try it, just for fun. After hours of editing, researching, and editing some more, I finally completed "Peace Through the Storm". Even though I didn't win (which is fine with me) I would like to share my story with you. I hope you enjoy it!

|| via Google images ||

      It was a beautiful summer evening and seventeen year old Elizabeth strolled along the shore of the Atlantic. The gentle breeze blew her long blond hair into her face as she stopped to gaze at the sunset. Her thoughts went back to the night of April 15th, 1912; the night that changed her life. Though the sinking of the Titanic had taken place eleven years earlier, Elizabeth remembered every detail as clearly as if it were yesterday...

      The day of April 10th, 1912, was coming to a close. The soft glow of the moon illuminated the faces of a brother and sister who were standing side by side on the deck of the RMS Titanic as it sailed from port.
      “How much longer until we get to...what's it called?” six year old Elizabeth looked up at her older brother with a puzzled expression.
      A broad smile spread across Daniel's face as he looked down at his little sister, “New York. It will take us about seven days to get there if we don't experience any problems.”
      “And then we get to see Mama again! I miss her a lot.” said Elizabeth as she looked over the calm water towards the shores of Cherbourg, France, the only place they had ever called home. Their mother had left for America seven months earlier to care for their elderly aunt, and Daniel, who was eighteen years old, promised that they would join her in New York once they had enough money.

      The first four days aboard the Titanic were quite uneventful. Elizabeth met a couple of other young girls close to her age, and passed many long hours playing with them. Even though she enjoyed being with her new friends, her favorite thing to do was to sit with Daniel as he told her stories. She loved it when he would read to her from the Bible, just like her father used to do.

      “Can you please read me just one more story?” begged Elizabeth. It was now the fifth night of the voyage, and Daniel was tucking her into a comfortable bed in their third-class cabin.
      He grinned and let out a small chuckle, “Alright, one more. Which one will it be?”
      “Jesus calming the storm! That's one of my favorites.” she said with excitement, and then snuggled down in the blankets to listen.
      After he had finished, he asked, “Did you know that God still calms storms today?”
      Elizabeth gave him a questioning look and he continued, “You were quite young when Father died, but I remember how God gave Mother and me an unexplainable peace. He comforted us in the middle of our storm and gave us the strength to move on. No matter what storms we may have to face in this life, we can be sure that God is right there with us and will walk with us every step of the way.”
      Elizabeth nodded sleepily, not fully understanding everything Daniel had just told her. She gave him a hug, and after thanking the Lord for all of His blessings, laid her head on the pillow and fell asleep.

      It was about 11:40 when Daniel awoke to a slight jolt of the great ship. Wondering what had happened, he silently slipped out the door so as not to wake Elizabeth, and made his way to the upper deck. After questioning a few of the people who had begun to gather there, he learned that they had struck an iceberg but no one was sure how much damage had been done. The captain decided that the lifeboats would be sent out, though most passengers didn't realize the gravity of the situation.

      Daniel made his way back to their cabin where he dressed Elizabeth warmly and then carried her to the boat deck. Some of those who had gathered began to think that perhaps the Titanic would never finish her voyage, while others believed there to be no danger. As the lifeboats started to be filled, Daniel silently helped Elizabeth into her life jacket and then picked her up in his strong arms. Elizabeth squeezed his neck hard, not wanting to ever let go. He carried her to the nearest life boat and carefully loosened her grasp.

      Looking down into Elizabeth's blue eyes, Daniel took a deep breath and gently said, “Elizabeth, I need you to be very brave. Mama will be waiting for you in New York. Tell her...” his voice caught as he tried to choke back tears, “tell her that I love her.”
      “Please,” Elizabeth sobbed, confused by why she had to go alone, “please don't leave me. I want you to come with me. Why can't you come too?”
      “Father taught me that women and children are first. As much as I want to be with you, I need to stay here and make sure that everyone else gets a place on a lifeboat. Please don't cry for me. Remember that God is with us, even in the middle of a storm.” With these last words he drew Elizabeth into a big hug, tears silently rolling down their faces.

      As the lifeboat was slowly lowered over the ship's side, Elizabeth kept her gaze fixed on her brother. “Be brave,” he called as the lifeboat drew closer to the cold, icy water, “I love you.”
      His voice faded away as the cries of women and the rushing of water drowned out all other sounds. Elizabeth looked back at the great ship, straining her eyes to catch one last glimpse of her brother. Yes, there he was, handing women and children into the lifeboats. An arm gently slipped around her shoulder, and a young lady of about twenty-five quietly said, “Your brother is a fine man. Not all of the men willingly stepped aside and let others go first.”
      Elizabeth started to cry and laid her head on the lady's shoulder, eventually falling into a fitful sleep. Several hours later they were picked up by the Carpathia, a ship sent to rescue those who survived. As Elizabeth stood on the deck, staring back towards the water which the Titanic had sank beneath, she wondered if her life would ever be the same again. As she stood there, a peace that is hard for a six year old to understand came over her. Maybe this was what Daniel meant when he had told her that God would be with her, even through the storm.

      She never forgot Daniel's bravery. As she grew into a beautiful young woman, she realized that it was on that tragic night that her brother truly became a man. He was determined that the women and children should be saved first, and in her eyes he was a hero.

      Elizabeth continued her walk along the beach, remembering that cold night when her world was turned upside down. She turned her tear filled eyes towards the sky and a smile spread across her face. Yes, she would see her brother again some day. And until then, she would remember the night that God calmed the storm and gave her a peace that surpassed all understanding.


  1. Oh,Rebekah! You're story is beautiful! Thank you so much for sharing it with us!

    I also entered the VF story contest this year. I'm thinking of posting the story on my blog sometimes, too :-)

  2. I LOVED this. They should make a movie based on it. =)

  3. Wow! Nice story, I really liked it!


  4. Wonderful story...I really enjoyed reading it! Thanks for sharing with us all :)


  5. Aw, I totally love it! You're an amazing writer...I agree with Blythe, a movie would be sweet! ;)

  6. Wow... that is an amazing story. So touching. You definitely have a gift for writing. Thank you for sharing that with us... :)


    P.S. I am REALLY surprised you didn't win anything!! :) Your story is amazing.

  7. How lovely Rebekah! It was very touching and I could picture it in my head. I love how you brought it to a nice conclusion in the end. Too bad you didn't would've been a great story to feature.

  8. Good Job Becka....I really liked how you put God's word into it and everything:) Love you!!

  9. That was SO GOOD!!! I almost cried! You did a very good job!!