He knew me. I mean really knew me. Knew everything that I had done or failed to do. Yet, I found myself wrapped in His warm embrace. I closed my eyes and rested, being filled up with His love.
He covered my tattered rags with His woolen robe, the color of blood. I breathed in his scent. Fresh and woodsy. And my skin had changed. It was clean. Cleaner than if I’d bathed in a cool mountain spring.
I glanced up, but he was already a distance away. His skin was covered in what used to cover me, this thick oily substance, black as tar.
His stride was determined. He didn’t turn back. A cypress tree blocked my view. And, then he was gone.
I scanned the horizon. But, all I could see were the mountains that surrounded this lonely valley.
Then I spotted him. Climbing up a mountain. At the top stood a lone tree with two branches, one on each side. I rubbed my eyes. No, it wasn’t a tree. And, those weren't branches. It was a cross.
Dark clouds rolled in and covered the valley. Lightening crashed. I jumped a little and pulled the robe on tighter.
He was gone again. Oh, no. He was somehow fastened to the cross. Streams of red flowed down from his outstretched hands.
I heard Him cry out. Then, fall limp. No. Don’t die. I. love. You.
The sky went black.
Thick darkness covered the valley.
I huddled against a nearby rock, trembling and weeping. Exhaustion overtook me.
When I awoke, there was a light. But, not the sun. It came from within the mountain. A circle of light, as from a cave. Or tomb.
A silhouette. His. He was alive. I cried, but not from sorrow. Joy. My Savior. My King. Please come back. Please take me home.
The sun peeked over the horizon. But, He was no longer there. Don’t leave me. I don’t want to be alone.
A voice. Not outside but within. Deep in my heart. “You’ll never be alone again. I will come back. Soon. Remember. You are mine. And, you have work to do.”