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Previous Challenge Entry (EDITOR'S CHOICE)
Topic: Staff (01/31/13)

TITLE: Pisgah Promises
By Terry R A Eissfeldt
02/06/13
~1st Place


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Gnarled fingers gripped the smooth wood with strength uncommon to old men. Each step, supported by the stout oak shaft, brought him closer to the summit.

His final climb.

His final appointment.

His final task.

Long grey hair, blowing in the wind breaking over the summit, twisted and twirled as if in a dance. Eyes, full of wisdom, compassion, love, and pain, kept vigil with one goal. The peak.

Finally the crest was upon him. He hoisted the staff supporting the last step of his ascent.

The Jordan River lay before him like a dull brown fat snake sunning itself on a fine spring day. Colorful banners and tents dotted the barren plain, much like flowers brightening a desert after an unexpected shower.

Slowly, holding the wooden staff with both hands, the old man spun around, like a planet circling the sun. He gazed north, east, south, and west. As far as his eyes could see was the Promise.

Reluctantly averting his eyes from the vista, he found a rock to sit on that still afforded a view. He laid the walking stick across his lap and began to stroke the smooth wood thoughtfully.


“What shall become of you, my old friend,” tears formed at the corner of his eyes as he rubbed a particular depression scarring wood. “If only....”

His eyes lifted from the indent and once more took comfort in the endless horizon. He must remember the Promise.

“What a gift you were,” he talked to his walking stick as if it were a much loved child, “I’ll never forget the day I found you. I was wandering in the desert. Lost. Alone. My expected future erased because of one rash act.....”

Once more his misty eyes fixed on the Jordan letting regret drift away like a leaf floating down the great river.

“There you were,” he continued, “sitting by that well. Discarded. Abandoned. Forgotten. A kindred spirit.” As he chuckled the tears disappeared. “We sure gave those shepherds a beating!”

His face softened into a deep smile. Zipporah...how he missed her....

“But that was only the beginning of our adventures wasn’t it, old friend?” He raised the stick high over his head twirling it in the twilight hour.

So many miracles...

So many miles...

So much death...

Gently he lay it back on his lap. The visible scar stared accusingly at him.

Suddenly he felt The Presence. He closed his eyes and let the warmth wrap around him. “Friend,” the familiar voice spoke, “you’ve come.”

Like water trickling down a stream, it was music to the old man’s ears. “Yes, I’ve come.” He opened his eyes and let them fall once more on to the oak shaft. The scar still stared but accusation was silenced in the Presence.

“Should I have left this for Joshua?”

“No, he has his own path to walk.”

“Shall I leave it?”

In answer a balmy breeze washed over the old man. A cloud enshrouded him. He let it consume him, body and soul. With eyes closed, he basked in the warmth of the Presence. He drank deeply of the electrified air until suddenly it was still.

When he opened his eyes the midday sun shone brightly. Lush greenery surrounded him. Looking down he noticed the traveler’s clothes were gone. He was dressed in princely robes. No more was a worn wooden staff in his hands but a golden scepter.

Moses was home.

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Member Comments
Member Date
CD Swanson 02/13/13
Oh,just lovely! Great job, I loved it. God bless~
Leola Ogle 02/14/13
Yay Terry! Excellent entry. Congrats!
Michael Throne02/14/13
Excellent piece, extremely well written. I enjoyed this very much.
Bea Edwards 02/14/13
Oh the lovely landscape you painted. Stunning in its multi-faceted colors. I imagined myself in Moses shoes...my favorite kind of stories are the type that transported into the scene and you have done that this week. Thank you and congratulations on win!
Noel Mitaxa 02/14/13
Congratulations on your win. Well-deserved, for you have captured so much depth and warmth with such an economy of language. Thnak you for such an enjoyable read.
Margaret Kearley 02/14/13
This is absolutely beautiful Terry. A wonderful account depicting the end of Moses earthly days and such great recollections of his 'old friend', the staff. Just beautiful to read. Congratuklations on your very well deserved win.
Vince Martella02/14/13
Wow, what an excellent piece of writing. I'm amazed how you can fill out your setting with so much description and still stay on word count. I always struggle with that. Your story was an absolute joy to read. Congratulations on a well deserved win!
Vince Martella02/14/13
Wow, what an excellent piece of writing. I'm amazed how you can fill out your setting with so much description and still stay on word count. I always struggle with that. And I loved the flow between long and short sentences. Your story was an absolute joy to read. Congratulations on a well deserved win!
Olawale Ogunsola 02/14/13
A winning piece indeed! Congratulations!
Alicia Renkema02/14/13
My ears are still filling my eyes -- I read this to my family and they were completely enthralled as was I. The love for his walking stick, his companion in life, and the journey he made which was so painstaking on so many levels made the ending of this piece so very rewarding! Your word pictures were incredible, I loved the fact that you didn't use the MC's name until the last although it was apparent who he was from fairly early on. I loved this and can hardly wait to buy the anthology that this piece will be in to have it for my very own. This piece also made me long for my heavenly Lord and to see my King face to face.
Alicia Renkema02/14/13
Oh yeah, Congratulations on winning the whole enchilada, first place of all of the entries! Very deserved and I agree with the one person who couldn't believe that you could fit in such beautiful description and stay within the word count. You made me love Mose's staff as well in this piece, the way you personified it was almost poetic!
Linda Goergen02/14/13
I can’t believe I missed commenting on this before...I read it, I thought I had commented…but same comment now as then...wonderful piece, masterfully written, so deserving to win! Congratulations!
Carla Procida02/15/13
This is the type of writing that when I read it I just want to put my own pen down and forget about writing! Your story, your writing has blown me away and I pray that I can write like you someday. Your imagery, your insight I rarely see even in some of the best Christian writers. (I guess you can tell I liked the story you wrote!) Thank you so much for sharing. God bless you!
Lillian Rhoades 02/15/13
I echo the previous comment, but I'll not put my pen down, not yet.:-) Your article blew me away, because I'm reading through the Old Testament-currently in Deuteronomy-and I can so relate to your masterful depiction of Moses.

Mega Congratulations!
Virgil Youngblood 05/20/13
This Showcase story deserves the recognition accorded. You have set the bar high (or should I say staff?)with the quality of your writing. Congratulations and best wishes.