Catherine had not yet opened her yes, but she sensed her body. It felt strong- powerful. She could feel every muscle. There were no aches. No pains as she had become so accustomed to feeling. She opened her eyes. Never before had she seen such a blue. It was deep and full and it seemed to Catherine that the color itself was alive. She sat up and ran her hands over the grass. It was plush and soft and of a more vibrant green than ever she had seen. She looked down at her hands. They were young. Golden and beautiful. She stood. She felt stronger than she ever had felt before. She felt she could run a thousand miles and never grow weary.
Catherine! Catherine! He laughed as he ran toward her, a smile spread across his face. He was tall and strong. The shadow that once fell endlessly across his face was lifted. Catherine had never heard him laugh like that.
“Dane!” She ran to him. She knew she felt powerful, but her own strength surprised her as she ran. She felt part child, part wild animal. She embraced him.
“How I’ve waited for you, my love!”
“How I’ve missed you, my husband!”
“My Children,” Catherine looked up into the face of one more beautiful than she had ever seen before. He was light and joy and life. And he loved her. She had known him a little on earth, now she would know him more, and she wanted that more than anything. She ran to him and fell to her knees.
“My Savior.” He knelt and gently lifted her. His smile seemed to radiate through her body. His laugh filled her with a lightness and joy she had never known.
“My daughter!” He said.
“This place….these bodies.”
“Just wait until you see the New Earth and your resurrected body.”
“What could possibly be better than this?”
“In time, you will see. Come.” He turned and she and Dane followed him.
“I can’t wait for you to meet them.” Dane said, holding her tightly by the hand as they ran.
“These are our daughters.” Catherine thought her heart could have burst. She had left Gwendolyn behind, who would be joining her soon enough. But here were the daughters whom Jesus had cared for from the moment they left her womb. They were grown, but when she looked at them, it was as if she could see every year. She could see them as infants, toddlers, young women. She could see everything they had been as they grew up here, in this beautiful place.
“Come, someone else has been waiting for you.” She followed them through the beautiful garden. The each picked a piece of deep red fruit as they went. She did the same. When she took a bit, the flavor filled her mouth in a way food on earth never had. She felt alive and strong. Her mind felt sharp. The garden was full of every shade of green, every color of fruit. The trees trimmed, the fruit arranged by color. Some fruits she recognized, others were entirely new. The colors of all were deeper than any colors she had seen on earth. The grass was soft and cool beneath her feet. The came to the edge of the garden and stepped out of it onto a beach. It was white and warm. She felt the change in sensations under her feet first as she moved from the cool garden into the warm air and onto the hot sand. The water a few leagues in front of her was a crystal blue unlike the ocean on earth. It was so clear, she could see the dolphins swimming beneath the water from a long distance away. She looked up and down and all around her, and her heart was full. The beauty of the place was staggering. When they reached the edge of the sand, she dipped her feet in the cool sparkling water. A small fish nibbled at her toe. There was a woman out a few yards, swimming.
“Harriet! Come and see who is here!” Dane called. Catherine dove into the water. Her body was powerfully strong as she swam to meet Harriet. A few dolphins jumped and played beside her, seeming to feel the excitement of this reunion. She embraced her old friend. Harriet was young now, with a body equally as powerful as Catherine’s. There was not a wrinkle on her face. Her lips were full, not thin and old as they were when Catherine knew her on earth. But her eyes….those dark soulful eyes Catherine would have known anywhere.
“Catherine, my dear!”
“Come, it’s time!” Dane called out across the sea. Catherine and Harriet raced to the shore, matching each other stroke for stroke, their strong arms moving them across the water effortlessly.
They reached the shore, stepped out onto the sand, and the warmth seemed to instantly dry them. Dane and the girls ran ahead. As they ran, it seemed to Catherine they were children, laughing and running and holding hands. She grasped Harriet by the hand and together they ran, like children. As they ran, they saw people and animals running from every direction. Catherine noticed various languages that created a beautiful song that moved her soul and sent shivers down her spine. She noticed as they ran that more and more people came closer and closer together. People of every color and ethnicity. People of every language. People from every land on earth were here, together. Suddenly, everyone stopped running and she looked up to see why they had all stopped. Before her, there was a throne. And on the throne, a magnificent man, with eyes full of love and a smile full of life. He laughed a loud infectious laugh and it spread throughout the crowd. They all bowed together and voices of every language shouted out,
“Holy, Holy, Holy” and as she shouted, the excitement of the word and what it meant filled her from her toes to the tip of her head. She looked at her God, her Savior, and felt herself come alive, so alive that she wondered whether she had ever really been alive before.
“Holy, Holy, Holy. My God. My Savior. My Jesus.”