"Ali, we need to talk," her father said. "Your mom and I have come to a decision and I thought you should know." Ali sat with her dad over the next few minutes as he explained that her mom was leaving and they were getting divorced. Her mom had been seeing someone else and decided that she no longer wanted to remain in the marriage. Ali's mind was filled with questions about her own security and how all this happened without her even knowing. She wondered if she had done something to make her mom want to leave, but knew better than that. As the next few days set in, anger filled Ali's heart and she was determined that she didn't ever want to even see her mother again. She felt so bad for her father who sat sullen and distant.
A few days later she arrived late at school and as she walked in noticed that the energy in the building was different. She made her way to the office and while she was checking in she noticed two teachers consoling one another. "What were they so upset about?" Ali wondered to herself.
She moved to the her first period classroom and students were huddled in groups, some sobbing loudly. The teacher seemed to be moving in between the groups, helping to calm students.
"What is going on?" said Ali to Josh as she sat down beside him.
Josh looked at her and said, "What do you mean? You don't know? I thought that was why you were late?" He paused, "Kristina was killed last night in a car crash. I'm so sorry."
Ali thought she had heard him wrong, so she just stared at him and said, "What?" Kristina was Ali's best friend. They had been through everything together. They had just talked on the phone last night about her parent's divorce. They had made a pact to stick through it together. "This isn't really happening," Ali thought. The room started to spin around her. She went to stand up, but the room went black. The next thing she knew she lying on a couch in the nurses office.
Her father walked into the room. "Lets go home Ali. I think you've had enough for today." The rest of the day she spent in bed or crying on her dad's shoulder. "How could this all be happening? I don't understand." Ali said to her dad.
"Sometimes we just don't know, but we have to keep going," her father said.
"I don't know if I can, "she replied.
The next few days were spent in mourning her friend. Ali decided that she would always take time to remember her friend each day. She felt Kristina's presence near her sometimes. She couldn't explain it, but it brought her peace.
Three days after the funeral the exhaustion caught up with Ali. She came home from school and fell sound asleep. In her sleep Kristina came to her begging her to wake up and get out. Ali heard Kristina scream and she shot up out of bed noticing that smoke alarms were going off in her house. She went to grab the door knob but the heat burned her hand. She grabbed a few pairs of clothes and jumped out of her window. She ran to her father's window just in time to see him coming out. They ran to their neighbors house to call 911 and they watched as flames engulfed the comfort, the memories, and the physical home that she had known her whole life.
The neighbors invited them to stay with them for a while. The community pulled together for Ali and her dad and provided clothing for them.
One morning Ali just sat at her neighbors kitchen table and sobbed, "How could all this be happening and so fast? I just don't understand. Its like a huge storm has come and waves keep rolling over the boat."
Ali's neighbor Judy sat down with her. She said, "You know Ali, we can't predict what life is going to give us and when. Do you know much about the stories of Jesus?"
"Not really, why?" Ali said.
Judy said,"Because, there is this story about the disciples and Jesus being out on the water one night. Jesus was really tired and went to sleep. After he went to sleep the disciples noticed that a storm was starting to kick up. The storm got closer and closer and as it did the waves got higher and higher. The disciples got really nervous. They tried to find Jesus and no one had seen him for a while. The searched for him and found him lying down below deck sleeping peacefully. They shook him and tried to wake him up. He woke and asked them what was going on. They told him that a violent storm was coming and they feared the sea worthiness of the ship. Jesus went up to the deck and spoke to the wind and calmed the storm. The disciples looked at each other and said to one another, 'Who is this that he can even the winds and waves listen to his voice.'"
She continued, "As I was thinking about your life over the past few weeks, I just couldn't help but think about this story. I wonder if Jesus is sleeping on your ship somewhere? He sees all these horrible things that are happening and knows that it is going to be okay. I wonder if you need the help of someone whose voice calms the wind and waves."
I think we have all had moments in our lives when we thought the waves of life might roll over us. So often we try to handle our lives circumstances by ourselves, but that only leads to feeling more overwhelmed.
We all need the help of the one who can calm the waves and the wind. All we need do is invite him in.