The light quickly receded until they could see what was directly in front of them.
The winds became harsh and sporadic.
Huge gusts of rain came from every direction.
The sound of lighting and thunder that had once been so far away was now striking closer and closer until it was soon only just an arms reach from them.
As they looked into each other’s eyes, each could tell that the other had accepted what would come next.
Yet as a bolt of lightning crashes near them leaving the smell of ozone in its wake, Isaiah became unsettled as his life flashed before his eyes.
He remembered the intensity of his father as, by his direction, Isaiah would be worked to the bone day in and day out for the sake of finishing the boat he was laying on now.
He remembered the kindness of his mother and how his only moments of relief in his long days of work would come from speaking with her in the shade of nearby trees.
He remembered his time-honored complaints of being too tired and exhausted to work any more and how his parents would always reprimand him by saying that he may only rest when all of his day’s work had been set into order.
Yet, he reminiscence was cut short as the howling winds and tumultuous waves had become too severe to ignore any longer.
A moment later, he could begin to feel the hair on his head and forearms begin to rise and the air soon began to mildly taste of sulfur.
He knew this meant that the lighting was only an instant away from a direct strike.
“I’m sorry Jubilee,” told his wife solemnly, “I never should have brought you with me”.
“You have done nothing wrong Isaiah” she responded with tears in her eyes “I’m grateful to have shared my life with you”.
Their’s eyes met as they held each other for what they knew would be the last time.
He closed his eyes.
And without warning, the lightning struck.
“Mother,” a young Isaiah asked, “why is father having me make my ship with metal? wouldn’t oak be much easier to work with and float just as well?”.
“Well, that is true,” his mother responded, “but he would have you to be safe when you’re out at sea, your voyage will be long one you know”.
“But why should it make any difference?” Isaiah said in frustration, “I tire from working with heavy metal materials all day long. If this is to be my ship for my voyage, why can’t I build it the way I would want it to be built?”
His mother smiled and tenderly held him close to her, “you’re tired of working for so long without knowing why you’re doing the things you’ve been told to do, aren’t you?” she said comfortingly.
“I just want this to be finished already,” he remarked solemnly, “Why is father pushing me to do so many things that are completely unnecessary? Has he gone mad?”
She pulled him closer, looked into his eyes and said to him, “I know it seems difficult to believe right now but he is doing all of this because he truly wants you to be safe and well-protected”.
“But how?” he asked, “How will the things he’s having me make protect me?”
“Well,” she began, “for several months before you were born, your father and I worked painstakingly to come up with a design for a ship that would be able to withstand any sort of obstacle you could ever hope to encounter for the duration of your trip.”
“We designed it based on the knowledge we’ve gained over years of travel as well as from the advice other experienced sailors,” she continued.
“I know that this is difficult for you but trust us right now when there is so much we’re asking you to do, but I promise, you will be glad you saw this through to completion”.
“Alright, I will do my best” He responded.
“Good,” she said, “You won’t regret it, just be strong for now”.
“Son, come, time to work” his father called.
“Coming father,” he said as he hugged his mother and returned to his work.
Isaiah opened his eyes, and to his amazement, he and his wife were somehow still alive.
“What’s going on,” Jubilee asked in bewilderment “that bolt struck us just now didn’t it? Why don’t I feel anything?”.
Dumbfounded, he looked at the mast of the ship remembered something comforting.
“Mother,” a young Isaiah asked in confusion “why is the mast made of copper while everything else on the deck is made of iron?”
“I’m glad you asked,” his mother remarked with a smile “you see, your father and I have had many close encounters with lightning storms over the years, in fact, one nearly took both of our lives during an unfortunate outing at sea.”
“But we later learned that if we were able to divert the current of the strike into the water, we would have much better odds of survival”.
“But how does the mast do that?” Isaiah asked, “Wouldn’t the current just go into the ship since its made of metal too?”
“You’re so smart!” his mother exclaimed.
“You’re right” she continued “ordinarily the current would just go straight to the deck of the ship but that’s why there’s a thin layer of wood covering the deck of the ship as well a few copper plates built into the ships hull”.
“You mean those things aren’t just doing it for decoration?” he asked.
“Copper is more conductive than others, that means that electricity will pass through it much faster and with much less resistance than most other metals” She explained.
“And that’s going to save me from a lightning storm?” he asked.
“It will greatly improve your odds of surviving it,” she said, “although we can’t be certain that it would always work”.
“It’s always best away from a storm rather than in one,” she remarked with a sigh.
“Hopefully, you never encounter one but even if you ever did, think of this as a last line of defense”.
“Wow,” Isaiah exclaimed, “that’s amazing!”, “Where did you guys learn about this?” he inquired.
“Oh, it wasn’t that difficult,” she said gleefully “people have actually been using this type of protection for a long time, once we learned what it was, it was simple for us to utilize.”
“What is it called?” he asked his mother in wonder and appreciation.
His mother, smiling warmly and told him it was called…
“A lightning rod, built into the ship’s mast and connected to the hull, that how we’re still alive,” he told Jubilee.
“Are we safe here?” she asked with renewed hope.
“We are safer here than in the water, though we are far from out of danger” he replied gravely.
Suddenly out of the clouds in the distance, a small ray of light became visible.
“It’s the eye of the storm” Jubilee stated, “we will be safe there”.
“We have to g-“, she was interrupted as a second bolt lighting came crashing into the ship’s mast disappearing almost as instantly as it arrived.
Though she was interrupted, her message to him was clear and he knew what they had to do.
And so, despite the wind and waves pushing them in seemingly every direction, the man grabbed hold of the wheel of the ship and set course for the eye of the storm.
How fortunate it is, that through the discipline of his father and wisdom of his mother, a last line of defense in the form of foresight would safeguard a man’s vessel of maturity and hope in the most defining moment of his voyage to promised home.
8 Listen, my son, to your father’s instruction and do not forsake your mother’s teaching. 9 They are a garland to grace your head and a chain to adorn your neck.
Yet even in this ray of hope, this story is still left uncompleted.
This is 30 Days of Growth: Day 23
Tune in Tomorrow for the final chapter