I Will Smile at the Storm

I like to write stories. I have some stories that are unfinished. The other day, I was looking for a story to give to one of the girls I tutor. I want to encourage her to write, so I thought she could read the story and then write the next part. Below is one of my stories, which I started writing in 2001. Let me know what you think 🙂

I Will Smile at the Storm

Lexi McAllister sang half-heartedly to herself. This Tuesday afternoon she was in a “not-interested-in-anything” mood. Yet this song kept coming to her.

Sailing, I’m sailing home,

Sailing, I’m sailing home.

With Christ in my vessel,

I will smile at the storm

Until He takes me home.

“What a silly song,” Lexi mumbled. With her chin resting on her arms, Lexi lay on her stomach as her legs swayed in the air to the tune. She had learned this song in Sunday school. In all her eleven years, Lexi could not remember missing a lot of days of Sunday school. Last Sunday, however, was different than any other Sunday. Why was that song still squeezing through her thoughts? She really didn’t understand it, but…

Ring, ring,” the telephone interrupted. As Lexi’s mom, Beth, answered the phone, Lexi noticed Kitty basking in the sunlight next to her. Kitty always seemed to be in a “not-interested-in-anything” mood. Leaning over to scratch behind the orange kitten’s ear, Lexi remembered the words of her Sunday school teacher, Miss May.

“With Jesus in you, you can face anything. He loves you and wants to live inside of you. When He is there, you will have peace to weather any storm that may come. If you let Him, He will cause the fear to leave. I’m going to retell an account from the Bible. You’ll find it in Mark 4:37-41. Just like Jesus was in that tiny boat, so He wants to come and be in your vessel.

One day Jesus was in a boat with His disciples on the lake. As dark storm clouds rolled in with the sound of thunder and flash of lightening, the enormous waves tossed the little fishing boat to and fro. Fear struck all of the men—except one, Jesus. Racing to throw out excess weight, the men desperately sought an answer. Where was their hope? Would they stay afloat or would they escape the swallowing sea?

As if nestled in the Father’s loving arms, Jesus slept peacefully. The faithless men cried, “Master, master! We’re going to die!” Upon awakening, Jesus spoke with complete confidence to the storm that ravaged violently around them.

“Peace, be still.” The magnitude of the storm did not compare to the awesome stillness that miraculously flooded the sky and sea. The hearts of the men began to ease into a silent rhythm as they stood in amazement and wonder. Who was this man who commanded the storm?”

Lexi was startled out of her thoughts by her mom’s plea. “Alexis! Come quickly. We need to leave right away.” She only called her by her full name if it was something important or she was in trouble. She stood up promptly.

“Do you remember my friend, Lily Sanders? I met her at the homeless shelter last Christmas.” Lexi nodded slowly as she tried to remember. “She is from the Cornerstone Church. We were serving Christmas dinner together.”

“Oh, now I remember! She has a girl my age named Katie. She was fun to be around. She could always make me laugh! I haven’t seen her since the beginning of summer.”

“Yes. Well, Mrs. Sanders just called me. Katie is very sick in the hospital. Honey, she has cancer.” Beth paused as her eyes tenderly observed Lexi. Lexi stared at her mom.

“What?” She couldn’t register that word: cancer. Lexi knew that cancer was a deadly disease. But she couldn’t understand how Katie, someone her age, could be so sick. Would she die?

“Lexi,” Beth said softly as she put her arm around her daughter. “We need to go now to encourage Katie and her mom. This is very hard for them.”

Without further thought, Lexi went out to the car as Beth quickly gathered her purse and keys. As they drove away, Lexi could hear the Sunday school song flowing once again through her thoughts.

Sailing, I’m sailing home,

Sailing, I’m sailing home.

With Christ in my vessel,

I will smile at the storm

Until He takes me home.

When they arrived at the huge brick-layered hospital, Beth and Lexi went inside and weaved through the halls. It seemed like a maze. Every so often, Beth would ask an employee for directions to the Children’s Center.

Lexi felt like she was in a storm like Jesus’ disciples. Anticipation filled the air. What would Lexi find when she got to Katie’s room? Would she look disgusting and “cancer-like”—whatever “cancer-like” was. Maybe she would have no hair and big sores everywhere. Would Katie be so sad that she wouldn’t want to see anyone? Would she be mad at God for allowing her to be sick and not able to play with the other children? Lexi could only guess what to expect.

As they approached Room 312 Beth and Lexi pushed through the door. Lily was sitting beside Katie’s bed with the Bible in her lap. Lily’s dark, silky skin seemed rugged today. Several frays of black hair framed her tired face. Lexi could tell that a quick roll of Mrs. Sanders’s hair into a bun was the only evidence of hair-grooming this morning. Lexi remembered her as always neat in appearance. Yet today was different.

Katie’s eyes slowly began to shine as she awoke and realized that she had visitors. A sigh of relief escaped Lexi’s lips.

“So far, so good,” Lexi thought. Lexi didn’t notice any sores. Giggles erupted from both girls as Beth and Lily embraced each other. Lexi wondered if everyone felt the peace in the room.

Standing at the foot of the bed, Lexi observed the tubes going to and from the pale, thin girl. Lexi was relieved, however, that Katie had hair! Even more exciting was that her long, black hair was neatly braided into two braids with curls at the ends.

“Katelyn, I’m going to take Mrs. McAllister for a walk around the hospital. We won’t be long.”

“Okay, Mom. Remember where you are and don’t get lost!” Lily smiled as she recalled the few times she did get lost. Katie waved at the ladies as they went out of the door. “Guess what, Lexi?” When Katie spoke, Lexi noticed calmness in Katie’s voice. “A nurse came in and told me that I might be able to go to the hospital garden tomorrow. They have a pond there with fish in it. I like fish. I have a fish tank at home. I used to have five goldfish, but one died.”

Lexi was startled. She searched Katie’s face for any reaction to her account of the dead goldfish. However, without a pause, Katie continued. “I don’t know what happened. Maybe I fed them too much. Anyway, our neighbor said that goldfish stink, and I should think about getting a bird! I think he was teasing, but I like my fish anyway. Do you like fish?”

“I guess they’re alright. I think I would rather have a puppy. Right now we have a kitten, but she doesn’t do much but sleep. Except at night. Then she’s all over the place. Dad said we couldn’t have a dog. One time I thought a hamster would be fun. We had one in our class last year. Do you have any animals at home?”

“No. It’s a good thing, though. Now that I am sick, I couldn’t take care of any animals. Did your mom tell you that I have cancer?”

Lexi hesitated. She didn’t know what to say at first. “She did, but she didn’t know very much about it. We came over as soon as we found out.”

“I’m glad you did. I know everything will be okay, but it gets hard sometimes, especially with my mom. I know she tries to keep a strong front for my sake. Even if she’s not crying on the outside, I know she’s crying on the inside. I keep thinking about the other kids who are sick, too. They don’t know Jesus. Sometimes I can tell them about Him when the nurse takes me down the hall.”

Lexi was amazed at Katie. She knew that Katie loved the Lord. But here she was sick, and she was thinking about someone else. It was as if she wasn’t afraid to die.

However, as if she knew what Lexi was thinking, Katie said, “Sometimes I get afraid. Sometimes I don’t want to die. But I just pray, and the Lord comes. He takes my fears away. Then I know everything will be okay, even if I do die.” There was something about Katie’s eyes as she smiled at Lexi.

“Even if you die?” Lexi thought to herself. “So, when…do you…” Lexi struggled with her words as her eyes searched the ground.

Katie giggled. “You want to know if I will be able to ever come home, and if so, when?” Lexi sighed. She had always liked this girl from the first day they met. Immediately Lexi, still standing by the foot of the bed, came and positioned herself next to Katie on the bed. Katie quickly moved over to give her friend a place.

“I just don’t understand how you can be here. I just saw you at the beginning of summer at the Helping Hands Food Bank. You weren’t sick then. Remember? You and I had so much fun packing food baskets. But now…how can this happen to you? What do the doctors say?”

Katie looked at Lexi as if gazing into her heart. “Lexi, I don’t know why the Lord allowed this to happen to me. But this I know, it doesn’t matter what the doctors say. It only matters what God says. And He has put a peace in my heart that nothing can take away. I have more joy today than I did in the summer. I love the Lord more today because I have drawn closer to Him. He has waited a long time for me to draw near to Him.” Katie leaned closer to Lexi as she whispered, “Lexi, He’s been waiting a long time for you to draw closer to Him, too.”

Lexi stared at Katie. Everything she had said pierced her heart. But it was a piercing that didn’t hurt. It changed something in her heart.

For the rest of the afternoon, the girls giggled and talked about what they did during the summer. Just as Lexi was wondering if her mom and she should be going home, Beth and Lily walked in. Although Lily looked like she had been crying, she looked refreshed.

“Well, I didn’t get lost this time. I showed Mrs. McAllister the garden. It is so beautiful. I hope you can go tomorrow, Katelyn.”

“I was hoping that Lexi could come with me tomorrow. Lexi, would you like to come see the garden with me?” Lexi looked at her mom.

“Can I, Mom? We get out of school at twelve tomorrow. We can come after lunch.”

“I think that’s a good idea. But we need to go right now. Your dad will be home soon, and we have dinner to make.” Lexi’s mom gathered her purse and gave Lily a quick hug. She then leaned over to kiss Katie on the forehead. Lexi squeezed Katie’s hand.

“I’ll see you tomorrow,” Lexi said as she followed her mom out of the room.

On the way home, Lexi began to sing:

Sailing, I’m sailing home,

Sailing, I’m sailing home.

With Christ in my vessel,

I will smile at the storm

Until He takes me home.

~Kim

 

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