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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Calm (emotionally) (09/13/07)

TITLE: After the Storm
By Jacquelyn Horne
09/14/07


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Carla saw only peace as she looked out over the vast expanse of the Atlantic Ocean, where only a few hours ago utter chaos was in control. The waves had been white with anger, venting all their fury on the shoreline, washing it away with a strong undertow. Patio furniture from the cottages that dotted the space behind the dunes had been flying like missals, destroying each other mid air.

The beach, from waterline to dunes, was still cluttered with debris, but when she focused her eyes on the enormous green waters in front of her, Carla felt nothing but tranquility. Utter calm. Perfect peace.

The storm had cooled the air, and Carla walked along the beach in comfort, stepping over patio umbrellas, working her way around trashcans and avoiding broken glass. The storm is over, now the cleanup, she mused. I wish life was that easy.

Oh, Billy! Where are you? Her heart ached when she thought of her soon-to-be-a-grown son wandering out there in the great vastness of the world. Alone. No one to help him if he gets into trouble. Does he have a bed for tonight? Or will he sleep on a park bench, or worse, in a ditch along the roadway?

Oh, God! Keep my boy safe.
Carla looked at the peaceful clouds as they floated across the bright, sunlit sky. How she longed to feel that serenity. Would she ever feel it again?

She knew it had been hard on Billy growing up without a father. But that wasn’t her choice. Brian had just left without explanation. Here yesterday, gone today. Simply vanishing out of their lives, leaving a great void.

Carla had tried to fill the shoes of both mother and father, but a woman can’t fit into a man’s shoes, no matter how she tries. She’d done the best she could. Billy had been introduced to Christ. In his early teens he had been baptized in the name of Christ Jesus and received the Spirit of God.

He really was a good boy. That’s why she was so shocked when she went into his room last week and saw one pillowcase missing and many of his clothes not in his closet. Checking his dresser, she had found most of his grooming items gone. Just like his father. Not a word, simply gone.

“Oh, God,” she prayed. “I need you. You said you would never leave me nor forsake me. Please help me now.”

Carla felt a quietness beyond her comprehension She had never felt such a peace. Like the sandy beach, trouble was still strewn in her life. But, she was as calm as the ocean after the storm. God had given her that peace “which passeth all understanding”. (Philippians 4:7 KJV)

Feeling confident that God had it all in his hands, Carla returned to the cottage and began to put her house in order. She had been so distraught that she had let everything go. She now made her bed, dusted the furniture and even cooked herself a full meal. God was here. She was not alone. He was her husband and the father that Billy never knew. He cared. He would make it right.

She spent the next few days in confusion. She had to go to work, but wanted to stay near the phone. Each evening she prayed for a continual calmness in her soul. She needed that reassurance. She believed God would take care of the situation, but nothing was happening. When, Lord? She cried.

The evening the phone rang, it startled her. Fear gripped her heart in spite of the peace God had given her. She lifted the receiver slowly. “Hello.”

“Carla Benton?”

“Yes.”

“This is Sergeant Blume at the Savannah Youth Facility. Please hold for a call from your son.”

Carla was speechless. “Mom? This is Billy. I want to come home.”

Silence. “Mom? Are you there? They said I could come home if you would send for me. Mom?”

Carla couldn’t help it. She began to giggle. Billy’s father had come through for her. His Heavenly Father, that is.

“Mom? I’m sorry. I want to come home. Please.”

Let him sweat a little. And Carla giggled again…

....................................

Psalms 107: 28-29. “Then they cry unto the Lord in their trouble, and he bringeth them out of their distresses.
“ He maketh the storm a calm, so that the waves thereof are still.”


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This article has been read 897 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Janice Cartwright09/20/07
Srormy sea, quiet aftermath. A good theme to parallel the storms in our lives and God's ability to bring the peace that passes understanding.
Jan Ackerson 09/20/07
I like the way that you had the weather parallel Carla's life.

Two things: a missal is a religious book; I think you meant missile. And would she really let him stew a while, after wanting him back so desperately?

I enjoyed this story of God's faithfulness, a great deal.
Linda Roth09/20/07
I enjoyed your analogies. It made your story spring to life. Good example of a touch of tough love!
Joy Faire Stewart09/20/07
I enjoyed the vivid example of faith in our Heavenly Father; and the portrayal of a mother's love.
Frank Creed09/22/07
Very maternal. Great description. I'd have liked to see some of the backstory linked to debris in Carla's shattered life. "Let him sweat a little."<--loved this line.
Leigh MacKelvey09/22/07
I was surprised by the turn of the peace after the strom and the calmness the MC felt realized walking on the beach to the actual unrest in her life at the moment.
then you wrote about how God calmed her after her personal storm. Good comparison! I.too, thought the ending was "off" a little from reality. But , overall, great writing!
Leigh MacKelvey09/22/07
Oh, man! Sorry for the typos!