I’m working on a book of short stories. So far, I haven’t found a publisher.
There’s no use keeping these stories to myself. Enjoy! Pass them on. I’ll be posting a new story (at www.creekbank.net) every few days. I’ll use my Curt Iles Facebook page to announce new posts.
I’m always open to suggestions, feedback, and constructive criticism.
Chapter 1: On a Solid Foundation
The burly Rapides Parish Deputy stood ahead of me in line at Albertson’s. I’m Southern friendly and couldn’t help myself. “Sir, I’m writing a book for my grandsons as well as young men who don’t have a role model. I’m sure you’ve worked with young men all of your life.” I held up one finger. “What one thing would you tell a young man?”
The deputy was a large man in his early fifties. I wouldn’t be surprised if he’d been an Army drill sergeant in his younger years. He stared intently at me. I nearly expected him to say, “Give me fifty.”
Instead, he said, “I’d tell them they need to know Jesus. If they really know and follow Jesus in their hearts, it’ll take care of everything else.”
I thanked him as he hefted two grocery bags and strode out the store.
One thought filled my heart as I watched the deputy exit.
There walks a man with a solid foundation.
The Pineywoods Manifesto is full of lots of practical advice about living a productive and successful life, but following all of these maxims your life can still come crashing down if you don’t have a solid foundation.
It’s not meant to be a preachy book, but more of a conversation between me, the writer, and you. I’ll strive to as honest and transparent as possible. However, I’d be deficit in my duty if I didn’t avow that my solid foundation is not of things of this world.
Here’s a story that illustrates about the right foundation.
During the infamous 1989 World Series Bay Area Earthquake, a particular area of San Francisco suffered a higher proportion of collapsed buildings and fatalities. The investigation revealed that this certain area had been built on sand pumped from the Bay. Most of the city is built on bedrock and can withstand strong tremors. Sadly, many people died that day because their homes were built on sand, not bedrock.
A strong foundation is essential to anything.
That same Jesus the deputy referred to, once said, in his most famous sermon.
24 “Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. 25 And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock. 26 And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand.27 And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell, and great was the fall of it.”
I have a Life Song* that serves as my foundation during life’s storms. Although the author is anonymous, the song, “How Firm a Foundation” has comforted people for centuries.
How firm a foundation, ye saints of the Lord,
Is laid for your faith in His excellent word!
What more can He say than to you He hath said—
To you who for refuge to Jesus have fled?
The second verse is my favorite.
“Fear not, I am with thee, oh, be not dismayed,
For I am thy God, and will still give thee aid;
I’ll strengthen thee, help thee, and cause thee to stand,
Upheld by My gracious, omnipotent hand.
As a depression survivor, I’ve been pulled under the deep waters of my disease, so I take solace in the third verse:
“When through the deep waters I call thee to go,
The rivers of sorrow shall not overflow;
For I will be with thee thy trouble to bless,
And sanctify to thee thy deepest distress.
Once again, that promise to be with me in spite of where I’m at.
“When through fiery trials thy pathway shall lie,
My grace, all-sufficient, shall be thy supply;
The flame shall not harm thee;
I only design Thy dross to consume and thy gold to refine.
I’ve been in those fires, but never alone.
I especially love the penultimate final verse that I call the double-double-triple negative promise:
“The soul that on Jesus doth lean for repose,
I will not, I will not, desert to his foes;
That soul, though all hell should endeavor to shake,
I’ll never, no never, no never forsake.”
Take the wisdom of this book and use it in your life. I’m simply passing it on from others.
But by all means, build on the solid foundation.
That foundation is named Jesus.