Fiction Writing Challenge: ‘The World Beyond the Rocking Chair’ by Pam Stoklosa

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The World Beyond the Rocking Chair

Each morning after breakfast with his wife Cora, Alfred Jenkins would retreat outdoors with his cup of coffee to his favorite wooden rocking chair. He’d sit surrounded by stone pillars holding up the foundation of the porch upon which he sat.  Alfred would contemplate his daily journey around the rocking chair. Around him sat a vast forest of multi-colored leaves shining brightly in the October sun. The scent of pine needles filled the air this morning,  Alfred slowly sipped his coffee.

Yesterday, Alfred ventured into the east end of the forest marking branches every ten feet so as not to get lost as each day’s adventure took him somewhere different. Accompanying Albert was his six gauge shotgun to protect him from bears and other creatures.

Yesterday, Alfred saw baby does playing sweetly amongst themselves testing their sea legs. Each one fell at different times only to be prodded up by their mother. It was break time. Each mother guided her baby to the stream for a drink of refreshment.  Once the baby does have had their fill of the stream, the mothers led the babies to the orchard and pulled off fresh low hanging apples for her doe to eat. Standing for the first time requires nourishment.

Once nourished, the does romped through the vast forest freely enjoying the beauty God had bestowed upon them in their outdoor playground.

Today, Alfred contemplated carefully whether to go into the deep, dark side of the forest. Alfred contemplated that very thing on his wooden rocking chair every morning as he sipped his piping hot coffee. No one had ventured into the dark side of the forest.  There was no light. There was no life within the dark side of the forest everyone thought.

Alfred had been exploring the forest every morning for several months. Passers-by thought of Alfred as the old retired gentleman who spent most of his days rocking on an old wooden rocking chair. There was so much more to Albert than the outside world knew.  Little did they know that Alfred would venture into the world around his rocking chair daily.  Alfred walked deep into the forest to see the multi-colored, iridescent swans gliding around the rivers flowing freely through the forest. Rainbow colored trout would peek their heads from out of the stream to wink hello to their friend Alfred. Baby bears would follow their mothers across the paths to search for berries. Birds would come from around the forest to hear Alfred play his homemade, wooden flute. The multi-colored creatures would sing along with the flute. Squirrels danced from tree to tree at the melodies filling the air. Baby ducklings crossed the pond to become mesmerized by the symphonic sounds the birds and Alfred were creating.  Ferrell felines perched themselves upon logs sitting on the grass to bath in the rays of sunshine and hear the concert.

Today, thought Alfred, I’m going in.

What made today so different? Alfred prayed for the courage to step one foot at a time into the dark side of the forest. The world around his wooden rocking chair. Today, his prayers were answered. God said, I will protect you. Trust me with blind faith especially with the unknown.  I will make provision for you if you follow Me, My Son, and My Spirit.

Suddenly, out of the corner of His eye, Albert saw beautiful yellow, orange, pink, and purple rays beaming down into the dark side of the forest. The crisp clear clouds fell from the sky radiating with the sun’s multi-colored rays. The angels sat high atop the clouds, dressed in beautiful jeweled treasures. Soon, Alfred heard a symphony of angels singing praises to the Lord most high. Alfred leapt from the wooden rocking chair, turned toward the commotion and walked into the once dark side of the forest.

His heart was no longer filled with anxious strife as to whether or not to enter with the Lord guiding His path. Alfred’s faith and belief in the Lord overtook any fears he may have had.

As Alfred walked deeper into the forest, the dark side continued to fill with rays of light. Any evil once associated with the dark side of the forest was brought to the light. What remained was the light of the Lord shining brightly. Alfred was no longer afraid. The fears contemplated on his wooden rocking chair were laid to rest. Albert had been filled with the Spirit of the Lord.

As he was walking, Alfred came upon an angel of the Lord. The angel said, “peace to you my friend.” The Lord has been awaiting your arrival. Why have you feared so long. The Lord will take all of your cares away.

Alfred bowed his head and smiled brightly. “I see how the Lord will handle all of my problems and worries.  Just then, Albert saw a beautiful lake with Crystal blue water. The angels were floating on clouds above the water sprinkling fallen stars into the blue water. The stars were multi-colored jewels of purple, pink, silver and gold. As dusk came upon the dark side of the forest, Alfred noticed two things. The fallen stars lit up the sky — showing off the glittery unique beauty each angel possessed. Second, the angels began to sing worship songs and praise the Lord Most High.  The creatures Alfred entertained the day before appeared chirping, meowing, and tweeting their love of the Father.

Suddenly, Alfred was no longer in the dark side of the forest. He had been transported to an island with white sandy beaches framing the crystal ocean. Upon his arrival, dolphins sang for Alfred as they danced in the air with the angels twirling in praise of the Lord most high. Alfred stood in amazement at the beauty he witnessed. Purple and silver jewels lined the white sand. A symphony sat back toward the palm trees in cabanas playing mesmerizing melodies almost too beautiful to comprehend.

Beautiful tropical birds sang along with the symphony flying from tree to tree. Alfred Jenkins was taking in the beauty God had set before him.

Earlier this day, Alfred contemplated whether to approach the dark side of the forest. Fear had overtaken him for days. God showed Alfred His beauty, and the decision to trust God took away Alfred’s fear.

As a reward, the Lord God most high gave Alfred a picture of peaceful serenity. The serenity that can only be established with an unwavering faith in the Lord.

Alfred decided to explore the island. Plentiful tropical fruit trees lined the paths. Alfred grabbed a tropical fruit to eat as He explored. As Alfred explored, he came across a group of children playfully running and laughing amongst the now glistening trees. Their laughter was joyous, peaceful, and innocent.

Alfred watched as he remembered laughing, jumping, and running as a youth. He longed for days past. At that thought, the Lord walked toward Alfred with glistening sunshine surrounding his presence. I am the light, the symbol of love and eternal life with the Trinity. Alfred, we have brought you to the once dark side of the forest to recharge your laughter. The bible teaches us to laugh like little children.

Alfred knelt down and could not comprehend how his daily adventures beyond his rocking chair were transformed into an encounter with the Lord Jesus Christ. Just then, Jesus sat down on the jewel-covered sand and greeted Alfred.  My brother, we have been waiting for you. We have work for you that will fill your heart with peace, hope, and joy that is unexplainable. You were given the Spirit when you accepted me as your savior. Now, in order for you to excel in the destiny, we have placed in your heart, the Spirit will blow it’s wind into you to awaken your passions and reinvigorate your dreams.

Alfred sat in awe taking in the view of His Lord and Savior. God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit orchestrated this meeting just for me, Alfred thought. They want to fill me with the peace that transcends all understanding. The peace that I lost years ago and the peace that I long for today.

Just then, Alfred looked up and saw Jesus smiling at Him. The look of love filled Alfred with peace and joy in His heart. He heard angels sing, children laughing as they held hands running through the meadows in the once dark side of the forest.

Alfred quietly asked Jesus how did I lose my way. My life took many twists and turns. Family and children took precedence over my past service ministries. Jesus replied, as they should have. Now, Alfred, your children are grown raising their own children. You and Cora have time for service again. Stay connected to your children and enjoy your grandchildren, but release the passion I filled your heart with years ago to serve others.

For years, you pastored a church just beyond the forest surrounding your home. The church is in need of outreach direction.  There are many youths in this community being raised by single parents. These parents often have to work long hours to feed and clothe their children. This leaves many children without supervision and activities after school.  The community needs a mentor to guide my children toward wholesome activities. Activities like serving the homeless, spending time with the elderly, playing, laughing, and mentoring troubled youth.

Alfred, said Jesus, It’s time to step away from your comfy wooden chair. I’ve given you free reign of my forest around your home. You’ve had the freedom to rest, explore, and discover the beauty that my father put in this world.

We want you to tend to one more thing during your stay here Alfred, our youth. They need a guide. They should have the chance to see the world as the beautiful environment that I created. They need to be taught. They need to be nurtured. They need to be loved. Their parents are working hard to feed and clothe them, but are often too tired or don’t have the funds to allow them to participate in church or team fellowship activities.

I put the sense of fellowship in everyone, Alfred. I want you to step away from the comfy wooden chair and help the youth grow to be faithful, loving, responsible adults.

I have awakened your heart and sense of adventure in the past several months. I was readying you for the adventures of a lifetime. Like your walks through the forest each day discovering more and more of my beauty, I have enabled you to awaken the hearts of youths needing direction.

Alfred sat quietly as he remembered his youth. He would walk home alone after school alone hurrying to finish chores and make dinner for His single mother and younger siblings. He remembered the fiery passion that grew in his heart that one day, he would guide youths his age to realize dreams they dared not even think of. Throughout his life, Alfred mentored youth in growing to be God’s best.

Of late, however, Alfred and Cora had taken to their quaint lives living at the edge of the forest out of the world’s vision. Alfred’s passions had been stirred up as he began to explore daily in the forest. Alfred began to look for the beauty of each day, the simple peace provided by rays of sunshine glowing through a flowing stream.

Alfred began to realize that God had allowed him to rest for a time while learning to appreciate the delicate beauty of a field of buttercups blowing in the wind on a sunny day. The peace that filled Alfred’s heart coupled with the time spent resting in and communicating with the Lord had prepared him for the assignment from the Lord. Alfred was filled with wisdom, peace, and passion. Alfred was ready to step beyond the wooden chair and fulfill his destiny.

Jesus sat quietly as Alfred realized his final purpose on this earth. Alfred smiled and asked, why me Jesus? Why have you given me such an important task? Jesus answered, because We know you. We created you. You persevered as a youth. You set the direction and example for your peers and siblings as a youth. You had to grow up at such a young age just as many other children today do.

So now, I not only want you to mold young impressionable minds, I want you to make them laugh. I want you to laugh and enjoy your time with them as if it were your childhood. I am giving you back the years lost as a youth having to be an adult. Laugh like the little children. Show them the things that you always wanted to do as a child.

Alfred bowed his head, took a deep breath, and smiled proudly. The Trinity has chosen me to mold children into powerful children of God. Alfred realized that God chose him to help mentor the next leaders of the Kingdom of God. The young adults that would be empowered to make the world a better place.

Alfred looked up at the Lord and smiled. He thanked Jesus for calling him to such an important task. Alfred asked how he was to accomplish such a fete. The Lord replied, you’re not, we are. I will guide you. I will open doors that no man can shut. I will bring the right people to you and send you to those who will help you. Then the Lord said, trust me, listen for my guidance, and know that I am proud that you have listened to your calling and are following me.

With that, Alfred was transported back to his wooden rocking chair. He arose, walked into His home to talk with Cora to tell her about His visit with the Lord.

In the years to come, Alfred and Cora built a ministry that mentored hundreds of youths. Alfred and Cora, at the direction of the Lord, made sure each youth was filled with a robust love of the Lord, a grateful spirit, the willingness to help others, and a hearty life filled with love and laughter.  The world beyond the rocking chair was never quite the same.


Author’s Bio:

Fiction Writing Challenge: 'The World Beyond the Rocking Chair' by Pam Stoklosa two drops of ink

Pam Stoklosa

In the last few years, God put an old passion back in my heart—writing.  I am a degrees Accountant who has worked in the business world for several years.

Earlier this year, I was diagnosed with the fourth traumatic brain injury in my lifetime. I was in a serious automobile accident last year which caused the fourth TBI as well as serious neck and back injuries. I was told that I could not work again. 6 months ago, I could not read and understand a paragraph.  Today, after many prayers, and Neuro therapies, I am able to do so. I still have many struggles ahead of me, but know that the Lord God has provided for me and is gently guiding me.

God filled my heart with peace and my old passion to write and took away the fear. Writing helps calm me and exercises my brain. I find such peace in writing about the Lord and His kind and gentle ways. He has healed much in me and has asked that I share His love, peace, joy and hope with others.


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