I stood amidst a huge crowd. So many people clustered there, shuffling around. "Where are we?" I asked one man who remained stretching.
"We're getting ready to race," he yelled above the commotion, obviously shocked I didn't already know what went on. "It's time to pick your partner, or decide if you want to make it on your own. I'm making my own way." He pointed ahead. "That's the only way to win."
The mountainous road in front of us looked tragic, with bumps and potholes. Almost everyone wore running shoes and shorts. I looked down; I wore them as well. What seemed strange, though, was the fact that we were spirits, not flesh.
My heart suddenly beat fast. The trail ahead said something simple, something terrifying. "The Race of Life," I read the fading words. "If you so desire, pick your partner before you get a body."
I closed my eyes and wondered, was I meant to race alone? If not, I needed to find someone to run with--and fast--the race was about to start. I mulled over the crowd, and grew frantic all the while.
One man approached me, but I knew he didn't have what it would take. My arms pushed past him and moved along. Who could I race with? They needed to have similar goals, similar ways of thinking. They would have to be fun and inventive. A hard worker, a good father if we ended up having children.
"We'll race in ten minutes!" a voice boomed.
About a million girls circled around a handsome spirit. He beamed from the attention and I wondered over the sight. I finally crouched on one knee. It was useless, the spirit I searched for probably didn't exist. I needed someone who would help me finish the race and not just run it.
I tied one of my running shoes and prayed, "God, I'm scared to get a body. I'm scared to live. What if I stumble and fall? What if I forget your power and your love? What if I make terrible choices?"
Tears came to my eyes because it was scary. I was about to leave the comfort around me, the peace of seeing God's face in Heaven's eternity.
Many of the people around pulsed with anxiety as well. I wondered how they would fair. Would even one of us succeed? I stood tall then, dusted the dirt from my running shorts, put my hair in a ponytail and got ready to run.
Hundreds of people had already paired with each other, but I remained alone, refusing to be nervous any more.
Sure, I could lose almost everything, but I refused to lose my faith.
I bent forward. The journey would be hard. I could make it on my own, though--I had to. At any minute the whistle would blow, and so much depended on the race.
My breath slowed in concentration as I studied the wide road ahead. Then a hand touched my shoulder and I turned.
A spirit stood beside me--an amazing spirit. "I'm Cade," he whispered, and with those simple words, I knew I'd met my match.
"I've been looking for you," I said.
"And I've always been looking for you." He held my hand, making me feel truly beautiful and complete, truly worth something despite anything that might happen on Earth. "Are you ready for this?" he asked, smirking.
"You bet I am," I winked and that's when the whistle blew.
Happy 12th anniversary, Cade! I love you.