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Rod and Staff: A Short Story

Ratings:
Length: 19 pages13 minutes

Summary

After the death of his estranged, teenage son, a man returns to the mountain stream of his beloved Wyoming to reconcile with a God he has long since forsaken. This is a story of staggering loss---of the guilt, anguish, and disbelief a parent feels when a wedge is driven between them and their son or daughter. It is a story of the irrevocable profoundness of loss when a child dies. Finally, it is the story of a man who long ago chose to set aside his God in order to make his mark here, in the now, and how many of us find it difficult to reconcile faith when facing head-on the crippling finality of death, the inequities of life, and the absence of answers in the midst of our worst storms.

"And If I touched my rod to the river, and if the water turned to blood, would that be enough to restore faith in a God who would take a young boy from his father and mother before it was time?

When I was young I was enthralled by such magnificent stories, but now I was mostly content to nurture the seeds of disappointment, loss, and shame, seeing to it that the flowers of anger could blossom fully in my soul.

The ghosts, sensing a foothold, breathe life into scarred, inanimate memories, resurrecting them:

A knock at the front door.

Two cops, their countenances betraying an instinctual desire to be anywhere else but where they are, tasked with such unthinkable burden.

Numbness.

The lingering specter of flesh, and bone.

The whiskey-orange comfort of solitary retreat."

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