The Final Exam
Today was the day. My Final Exam. It seemed I had studied, meditated and disciplined myself all my life for this moment. I was prepared..and a little nervous. But, I knew my instructor was the fairest and most compassionate teacher there was. He graded on personal achievement, rather than on a scale, effort and not accomplishment, attitude and not quantity. I knew if I struggled on any part of my exam, he would be honest and just.
It was a long line I was waiting in. There seemed to be thousands of people who were waiting for the same test. The line was endless. There was no beginning or end. We were all waiting our turn for the Final.
You could hear a lot of murmuring and whispering, but it was mostly a very solemn line. There was a lot of retrospect going on within each of us. I could almost hear the questions playing in the minds of the countless faces: Did I study enough? Did I practice what I learned? Am I prepared for this test? What if I fail?
Every time the person in front of me took a step forward, I could feel a twinge of anxiety followed by a sweet peace. Anxiety, because I was one step closer to facing this Exam. Peace, because I was one step closer to facing this Exam. I knew with every step I took, that the outcome of this day would change me for eternity. It was terrifying, but thrilling at the same time.
There was almost a timeless existence as I waited in that line. It was as though I was waiting forever, but it was also just a moment. As I moved closer to the entrance, I took a moment to pay attention to the expression on the faces of my peers. It was very surprising to see the difference in their stature. Some were crying, others were peaceful. Some were angry and some were comforting others. Some were sweating and very nervous, others were closing their eyes and praying. I even witnessed an individual on his knees. I remember thinking to myself, "Wow, this is bigger and more important than I thought. Why are these people reacting so different. It's just a test."
As I got closer to the entrance, I could see that this was no ordinary test. There was a sign that read, "The Final Exam. No do-overs. No make-up tests. No extra credit. Pass or Fail only."
At that moment, I replayed everything I did to prepare for this day. It seems I had forever to practice what I learned - memorize what was read - utilize what I knew. At the same time, it seemed as though this day was upon me in an instant. Was I ready?
In between the wanderings of my mind and my eyes, something occurred to me. I never saw anybody leave. Where did they go? Was there another exit? I couldn't ask anyone who was in before me for tips and suggestions, because once they entered those ornately decorated and massive gates, I never saw them again. I was on my own.
I was next. Next time the gates opened, it would be my turn. My heart was pounding. But, I couldn't clarify if it was due to apprehension or exhilaration.
Everything and everyone behind me didn't matter anymore. I could not hear any chatter or feel any movement.
The gates opened. My turn. This is it.
There He was. My Teacher.
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