An Offering of Comfort (by BluewindFarm)

Summary:  Ben sits and waits as one of his sons lies in bed injured…  the details within the room… the depths… maybe a revelation or two.  (Inspired by A Chaps & Spurs Challenge; write a story based on the image.)

Rating:  K (675 words)

The final page contains reviews/comments from the old BonanzaBrand Library.

 

An Offering of Comfort

 

Outside the massive home, ghostly, white clouds offered a stark contrast to the pitch black sky as the full moon played a game of hide and seek with the stars of the night.  Pine trees that gave the land its name stretched to the heavens; the fallen needles offering a bed to the creatures that made their home out on the land.  The quietude outside the wooden walls mirrored the stillness within.

*****

Ben sat unwearyingly waiting; unwilling to give up the bedside vigil until he had seen this crisis through to its inevitable conclusion.  The flame from a nearby lamp flickered, offering a faint illumination that painted a warm glow throughout the room.  The inside of the coffee cup on the table beside his chair was stained with varying rings, each marking the passage of time.  The beverage constantly refreshed as the ever faithful Hop Sing continued to quietly slip into the room, and just as silently leave.  Never once did his employer acknowledge his attention to duty, but the man knew his efforts were appreciated, none the less.

The character of the room was an extension of its occupant’s personality; as different as the room next door, or the one down the hall, or the one beyond. There was not one man within these walls who could succeed in taming the land that became the Ponderosa. One man could not possess the required strength to prosper, but yet, each man’s strength complimented another’s weakness; and so as a family they had thrived.

*****

Behind the man, the curtain billowed inward as a warm, summer wind sought entry into the room.  The breeze glanced upon his cheek; soft… fleeting… as if caressed by a loved one fearful to intrude.

Ben waited; his thoughts and dreams focused on what could have been, what should have been; daring to stray to that which had yet to come.  But each time he began to doubt, his left hand subconsciously strayed from the arm of the chair to the well-worn Bible lying  on the table.  As his thoughts swirled and ebbed around the events that no one could have foreseen, that little movement brought comfort to a soul tormented in angst.

Once pristine, the Bible revealed the depth of the man’s faith.  As it lay under his hand, the cover no longer possessed its original deeply-engrained, rich mahogany color.  The worn edges of its pages stood testament to years of reading, searching, instructing.  Events, blessings and tragedies, were duly noted by a delicate calligraphy within.

*****

How many times as the hours passed had his hand rested on the Bible seeking solace, inspiration, justification, humility…  Matthew, Chapter 5, Verse 5, “The meek shall inherit the earth.”

Lord, forgive my human frailty… I have tried to live according to your words, your Commandments… It is difficult to be gentle in a land as rough and as unforgiving as the land I call home.  I’ve tried to live a moral life, to protect the beauty of your land, your creatures, and have tried to raise my sons to see the good in all men.  Man is your creation; you created us in your image…  I ask, where did I go wrong? Where did I fail?

*****

The doctor had come and gone, offering words of encouragement as well as words of regret; wishing medical science was further afield than the sentiment that they were barely out of the dark ages.   His parting words reflected the truth, “It’s now between your son and God.”

And so he waited, watched, prayed…

“Our Father, which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy Name. Thy Kingdom come.  Thy will be done in earth, as it is in Heaven. Give us this day our daily bread.  Forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive them that trespass against us.  Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.  For thine is the kingdom, the power, and the glory, for ever and ever.  Amen.”

The figure under the covers gave a barely audible inhalation, followed by, “Pa?”

 

~The End

 

Story Tags: Angst, Ben Cartwright

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Author: BluewindFarm

A dressage rider who's a cowgirl at heart.

Though I wasn't old enough during the heyday of Westerns on TV, with the introduction of cable and satellite services in the 1980's, I fell in love with Bonanza, Lancer, The Big Valley, The Rifleman, and The Wild, Wild West, among others. Through syndication and fanfiction; our heroes will live on forever.

I hope you enjoy reading the stories I've written, and look forward to reading your comments.

19 thoughts on “An Offering of Comfort (by BluewindFarm)

  1. I love this picture. It’s so rich and deep even though it’s short. You conveyed Ben’s deep faith and trust as well as his very human frailty in the midst of a painful situation. I have a Bible that is falling apart too and this just made me smile!

    1. QF, I’m so thankful that Cheaux decided to use this image for one of the C&S challenges. It does bring lots of depth to what can be written. Thank you for reading and for leaving a comment.

  2. This was exactly right — a familiar scene which I’m sure Ben wishes wasn’t so familiar. And I especially loved the bit about the battered state of the Bible as a reflection of its owner’s faith. ?

    Very nice, thx for writing!

    1. PSW, Thank you so much. This story is my favorite, of all those I’ve written. Not because of the injured son syndrome, but because of the picture and the imagery it inspired.

  3. BWF, you’ve laid out a scene Bonanza fans have come to know well. How often had this father been forced to sit by and do nothing except watch and pray? Too many times in too few years, it seemed. And yet the testing of his faith only seemed to make it stronger. Thanks for this lovely bit. 🙂

  4. Nothing was stronger than Ben’s faith. It was the thread that led him across the country with tiny sons in tow. It spared his sanity as he said goodbye to three wives. It got him through endless nights of worry and wondering if a son would see the next day. I’m so impressed that you were able to get all that feeling into so few words… thank you.

    1. Beej, it was indeed Ben’s foundation, and I’m pleased my story conveyed so much to you as the picture drew me to write. Thank you for reading and for leaving a comment.

    1. Prlee, that’s exactly the sentiment I felt when I saw the prompt. Thank you for reading and for leaving a comment. 🙂

  5. Ben was always portrayed as a man of faith so it was a lovely story centred, not so much on the sick man, but on the faith of the father who waited for his son to recover.

    1. Krystyna, It was his faith that saw Ben through many trials. All those hours of sitting, worrying, the quiet while waiting… praying. In my mind’s eye, the room was important because it stood testament to that which he held dear. Thank you for reading and reviewing. 🙂

  6. Simple but excellent visual of a father’s wait . . . loved your use of the bible and verse to show where Ben’s heart was – his faith placed in the One above. Very descriptive. Thank you!

    1. Mamse5, thank you. Simple but poignant was the heart of this scene. It was all about those moments while waiting.

  7. Oh, wow, BWF! I love it! It’s simple, but so powerful. I love the Scripture verses that you added, they blend perfectly with the tone of the story. Two thumbs up! 😀

    1. AKC, thank you so much. The image was a simple prompt; as I softened my eyes to see what was just beyond the picture, the room and the atmosphere begged to be conveyed.

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