The line of people spread out before her, seemingly endless. She shifted her weight from one foot to the other and hoped the wait wouldn’t be too long. She’d never been one to wait patiently in long queues and she could see no reason to start now.
She wondered about the reason for the delay. There had been so few passengers when she first arrived, that she had been surprised to step through into the waiting area and find it packed. Crowds made her nervous. Crowds and waiting. She knew from past experience that the nausea would soon start - then the headaches. It had always been that way.
Standing on tiptoe she tried to see what was happening up ahead. Despite the large number of passengers there appeared to be only one checkpoint open. Beyond the checkpoint she could see little except for two sets of doors. The majority of the passengers were passing through one set of doors. Without knowing why, she knew that it was the other set through which she wished to pass.
She could feel the nervousness and tension growing in those around her. So many seemed to be turned aside. Young. Old. Tall. Short. White. Black. There appeared to be no common factor amongst them: nothing to suggest a common thread.
She craned her neck to try and catch a glimpse of those who had been refused entry and heard someone ahead whisper that perhaps the passports weren’t in order. She hoped that there wouldn’t be any problem with her own. She’d had so little time to prepare for this trip, but she was certain she’d covered everything.
Suddenly there was a commotion at the head of the queue. A young woman was weeping as an official took her baby and toddler. A ripple of fear passed through those waiting and she clutched instinctively at her stomach as she felt it twist in response.
There was no reason to be concerned she told herself severely. She didn’t think she’d overlooked anything. She was alone and had brought no souvenirs - had in fact brought nothing - with her.
Glancing upwards she wondered why the building was so dark. This was the last place where she expected an energy crisis. Surely they could turn on some more lights. It wouldn’t seem so frightening if it were well lit. And yet … beyond the narrow doors through which only a few people were being invited to pass, she occasionally caught a glimpse of light of almost blinding intensity.
A rumour started to pass down the line. “They’re only letting citizens in.”
Others in line behind her started to grumble. Someone, more vocal than the rest, voiced his discontent.
“What do you mean only citizens are allowed through? This is ridiculous. Who’s in charge? Let me talk to them.”
Her concern now became a hard knot of fear. It was imperative that she be allowed through. Her parents had gone ahead and were waiting for her. She just had to be allowed entry.
Finally her turn arrived and she presented the official with her passport. He glanced casually at it then started leafing through some papers in his hand. Her body started trembling as her fear increased. What had she forgotten? Visa? Permit? Documents? What?
Just as the official was about to lift his hand and wave her towards the doors where so many before her had already passed, a man stepped forward out of the shadows. She had not seen him before and yet knew instinctively that this man would seal her destiny. He leaned down and said a few words to the official and the official glanced her way.
She waited anxiously. All around was stillness.
A short pause, then the official smiled at her and indicated for her to step forward. She sighed with relief and turned. As she did so she noticed what had previously escaped her. The man was scarred: his hands, his feet, his head. She stepped forward and into his waiting arms and into the presence of the eternal Father.
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