Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: The Writer's Life (05/13/10)
- TITLE: The Good Cigar
By Sharon Eastman
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The bullfrog’s gulping lament echoed through the pastor’s window and aroused him from his morning nap. He had been awake all night writing his memoirs and didn’t appreciate this intrusion. Stumbling to the armoire, he wiped the sands of sleep from his eyes and smoothed his gray speckled beard.
A knock at the bedroom door startled him until he realized it was his son, Thomas. “Father, get dressed. It’s a beautiful morning. Let’s go outside.”
“Yes, Thomas, I’ll be right there.”
“Good! The sun will help your rheumatism and all your discomfort. I’ll get some tea. Maybe we could talk about your memoirs.” Then, he quickly strode away to prepare the tea and the lounging area beside the pond.
With cane in hand the pastor limped to the settee beside his son. The gout in his left foot brought searing pain as evidenced by his grimace.
“Father, sit, sit! Forgive me for not helping you.”
“Oh, Thomas, It’s the end of my earthly journey. I must bear this pain. As I once wrote, ‘Final perseverance is the necessary evidence of genuine conversion.’ I will persevere until I behold my precious savior’s face.”
“Father, you amaze me. You never stop talking or writing about Jesus,” Thomas said as he poured tea.
“Yes, I’m always writing. The words never cease. Thoughts and ideas constantly flood my mind. Sometimes my writing flows like a river; sometimes a blank sheet of paper intimidates me. But, all in all, I pray over every word.”
“In your memoirs, Father, did you recall your first publication?”
“Yes, I wrote a gospel tract in 1853. It was widely accepted – to my delight and surprise. I was so happy with its results. It helped lead many souls to Christ. My writing’s greatest ambition is to win souls and to glorify God.”
“And, you do,” Father. I am so proud of you and your work, the sinners saved, and the Bible lessons taught.”
“Thank you, Son, I’m proud yet humbled by the way the Lord used me. I’ve preached to over 10,000,000 people and written as much prose and poetry as the stars. Again, I give God the glory!”
“What was your greatest accomplishment, the highlight of your life?” Thomas asked as a seagull from the ocean nearby screeched overhead.
The pastor scratched his gray head, and smiled reminiscent ally. “I must say leading lost sinners to Jesus. After preaching to 10,000 people at Metropolitan Tabernacle on Sundays, on Mondays a queue of suffering, sick, and poor people came to my door to pray. I laughed, cried, and prayed with them, and it warmed my heart to see how Christ changed their wretched lives. Better yet, he gave them heaven, a home for all eternity.”
Satisfaction flushed his face.
“Father, you’ve preached to thousands and written volumes, more than any other Christian writer. In the eyes of the world you are a great success. You must have had some disappointments, some battles with Satan,” he said sipping his tea.
“Of course, many, many of them. But, the worst,” and he stopped abruptly. His charming smile faded into a frown, and tears dampened his eyes. With a raspy voice, he continued. “Many years ago I was preaching at Surrey Gardens Music Hall. I was well into my sermon preaching about my favorite Bible verse, Isaiah 45:22. I was so absorbed in my words that I never heard the shout, “Fire!” Pandemonium broke out, and people ran in a panic.”
“Oh, Father!” Thomas moaned.
“Worst of all, several people died. Many were wounded. Satan conquered that meeting and scarred my heart for the rest of my life. Tears flowed from agonized orbs.
Thomas affectionately rubbed his father’s shoulders. “Are you all right?”
“I’ll never overcome or forget that tragic event. Sometimes grief overwhelms me, and I cry for no reason.” The pastor wiped his eyes as he finished his tale.
“Father, the sun is becoming hotter. Maybe we should go inside now.”
“Yes, the summers in southern France can be very humid. But, I love this land as I love an occasional good cigar. This seems like the perfect time for one.”
Thomas lifted a match to his father’s cigar. As the pastor inhaled, the cigar’s husky aroma wafted through the air. Thomas enveloped his father and lifted him from his chair. The elderly Charles H. Spurgeon and his young son walked together to their summer home.
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