Safety aboard ship in rough waters

Originally appeared on

In the 1960s, my brother and I were booked to sing each evening to the 1200 passengers aboard the SS Flavia, an Italian ship. As dusk fell on day four, the Pacific Ocean was tranquil. It was a beautiful balmy night. We had just finished entertaining the audience gathered in the Riviera Lounge when, without warning, the ship pitched alarmingly.

People on the dance floor began to fall and slide sideways. Seated passengers skidded across the room, crashing into other moving chairs. Tables careened and glasses shattered. Bottles pitched dangerously. Terrified passengers screamed.

I wrapped my arms around a solid column, closed my eyes and reached out swiftly to God in prayer—the safest anchor I could imagine at that moment.

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