This voyage that had been cast upon us was memorable. From the first day, my father-in-law had told us that he was planning on building a great ship to save us from a world wide flood, to the day we finally stepped off what had become our floating home, I never doubted. It is odd, really. When I had been betrothed to Japheth I knew I was marrying in to a descent family. There was so much evil in the land around us and even in my own family, that I was grateful, when Noah and Japheth came to my father to arrange our marriage. I knew my future father-in-law's reputation was good. He was know in our village as a man who had found favor with God. When Noah gathered his sons and their wives together to tell us of God's plan to destroy the earth with a flood, I believed him. He was a good man and treated each of his daughters-in-law with fairness and love. I knew that He spoke the truth, even when the passage of time brought constant scorn and mocking from others.
Those years that Noah and his sons spent building, we women spent preparing baskets and blankets, clothing and other provisions we might need for our long journey. We talked about the coming flood. We did not even really understand what a flood was, let alone how it could destroy everything and everyone we knew. Oh it wasn't that we didn't try to warn people. I spoke to my mother and father and my siblings repeatedly, telling them to come with us and be saved. They only laughed at me and tried to convince me to join them in their lewd and malicious deeds.
Finally, the day came. The ark was ready and God had miraculously brought animals of every kind to take the journey with us. Noah said, God was looking out for our future. That He knew we would need to repopulate the earth after the flood was over and the animals were part of that plan, just as we were. His words made me warm inside. God, this being that seemed so far outside my mind's imagination, was concerned for our future. As the animals were boarding I ran one last time to my family. They had gathered with many of the other villagers to see this spectacle of Noah. I pleaded with them to come with us, but they would hear none of it. Finally, Japheth took my arm and lead me away. We walked up into our noisy, teaming barn of a home. As I turned to look back on my family, the door of the ark closed.
I will not say that I wasn't afraid. I also won't tell you that I did not grieve for my family and the people I knew as I grew up. When the rain started and the earth began to tremble beneath our mighty ship any doubt I might have had was put to rest, but it was replaced with fear and with deep sadness. The screams did nothing to alleviate my grief, but soon enough the screaming ceased and my father-in-law gently acknowledged our loss. He took our hands and squeezed them and caressed our faces where tears had fallen. He and his wife and sons were our family now and we needed to work to ease our grief and survive.
Life on the ark became a routine of sorts. It took a week or so to get used to the rocking of the vessel and it seemed the weeks turned into months before the rain stopped. We had little time to worry or even really think about the waters that surrounded us. I think if I had thought about it too much, I would have gone mad. Our lives revolved around caring for the animals and caring for ourselves. We tried to make the long days and nights fun by telling stories, playing games and sometimes dancing with the flute that Shem liked to play. Our father and mother-in-law told us the stories of the past: the beautiful garden where God had once walked with man and women, their choice to disobey HIm and their removal from that wonderful place. Now that garden was under water and God was starting over with us.
One evening after I had finished cleaning up our dinner dishes I heard my father-in-law let out a hoot! He had been sending out birds to see if there was any place for them to land, but they always flew back to the ark. This particular evening the bird came back with a freshly picked olive leaf. What a celebration we had that night! After another week, the dove Noah sent out did not come back. In the morning, Noah removed part of the roof and was able to look out. All around he could see dry ground. He shouted for all of us to come and have a look. We laughed and cried. Then God told my father-in-law we could leave the ark. What a happy day!
Those first few days back on solid earth are a blur. We were so busy helping to get the animals off the ark, looking for our own suitable places to pitch our tents and learning to walk again on dry ground. My father-in-law built an altar on which he offered clean offerings and it seemed to please God. He told Noah and his sons to be fruitful and multiply. I laughed when Japheth told me that, since all three of us were with child. But then God did something beautiful, he made a covenant with us that He would never again bring a flood to destroy the earth. He sealed the promise with a bow in the sky. I had never seen such a wondrous thing as the colors arching through the sky.
Over the many years that passed since then, I cannot help but get anxious when it begins to rain. It also reminds me of my lost family. But then, that bow of colors will appear as if by magic and I will remember He was and is faithful to us.
The above is my own fictional account of what it could have been like for the women in the family of Noah. The Bible only tells us that Noah and his wife, their three sons and their wives went onto the ark along with the animals. See the full Biblical account in Genesis 6 - 9. The rainbow was and is a memorial of sorts. It reminds us of the faithfulness of God. God chose a remnant to preserve and restart. It reminds me that He is never finished with me. Every morning and every rain storm is a chance to start again.