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Topic: The Prom (08/02/04)
TITLE: The Final Prom
By Brenda Kern
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Just moments ago I was in a hospital bed, struggling for one more rattling breath; still battling the dragon of cancer.
Now I am...somewhere else.
Oh, heaven. I've died.
I walk up to the building (or castle?) in front of me, and as I approach the massive doors, I wonder how I'll open them by myself, especially in my chemo-weakened state.
I enter a grand room, and take a moment to look around. It's decorated with streamers and balloons, and a banner proclaims, "Welcome!"
Wait--those aren't balloons. I believe they must be some kind of floating gems. And those streamers aren't made of crepe paper, I discover, as I touch one. They seem to be made of something I'd call "spun pearl," and feel like the velvety inside of a fresh rose petal. The floor is a glassy, perfectly reflective surface, and I can't decide if it's gold, platinum, or some other celestial precious metal I wouldn't recognize. The entire room has a party atmosphere to it, a prom-like feel.
I hear voices around me, but see no others.
The voices are hushed, blended, but I gradually understand that we are awaiting the arrival of the Bridegroom, who is coming to celebrate my arrival.
For the first time since my death, my thoughts turn to myself. The Bridegroom is coming! I must look awful!
These last few months spent locked in combat with disease have left me ravaged--hair loss, skin lesions, and even yellowing teeth have not exactly enhanced me, and I know the flimsy hospital gown I'm wearing isn't exactly an appropriate outfit for such a gala.
I steel myself for the truth, and cast my eyes down to the floor to take a good look at myself.
First, I'm surprised to find that the hospital gown has been replaced by a pink/peach party gown, but it hangs off my bony shoulders at a cockeyed angle.
Then, right before my eyes, I see the reflection changing. The lesions fade and vanish, even as the dress fits better and better--my bones recede until they are no longer visible. I laugh out loud as the element of "healthy-looking" returns to my appearance.
The wonderment continues! Years are disappearing, as my hair returns to the color and luster it had in my youth, and lines etched in my face by life's events reduce, diminish, then fade altogether. My posture even improves!
Excitement has seeped into the voices around me now; the Bridegroom is approaching!
I give a final thought to my appearance, a final glance into the floor. "Well, this is about as good as it gets," I say to myself, sighing with resignation.
I've never been much of a "looker," and the lifelong rejection by the opposite sex has drilled that into my head quite thoroughly. I'm sure I also subconsciously compared myself to the supermodel of the moment or the actress gushingly described as "a legendary beauty," and, of course, fell far short.
Nevertheless, I went along and lived my life, comforted by the idea that I had a loving support group of family and friends, and hoping that I was making a productive contribution to society during my working years, right up until the discovery of the lump.
I also found comfort in the idea that I was striving to be "beautiful on the inside," and that God sees the heart.
I'm snapped out of my reverie by the brilliance of the light as the doors on the other end of the long, vast chamber open. He is here!
In the final moments before I join the voices and inhabit my new body, I am blessed with the gift of seeing myself as He sees me, and in fact, has always seen me.
In that instant, a brand new thought inhabits my mind. I struggle for a word, having one of those "it's-right-on-the-tip-of-my-tongue" experiences. It starts with a p... a pr sound...
First one brain cell, then thousands, then trillions grasp it. For the very first time ever, in my entire existence, I think this thought: "I'm pretty."
The tears come: a torrent, a deluge.
He says, "Of course you are. Shall we?" offering me His arm.
The last tear evaporates, and I, now fully spirit, take His arm as we walk into paradise.
Dedicated to every daughter of the King who has imagined herself to be anything other than beautiful...