The race has been long and arduous as I have traveled through hills, valleys, and plains of empty. The bends have been many and the roads have not lacked treachery. Yet, around the last bend my eyes meet the finish line; at the distance of patience and as close as a thought. My heart takes light as the ending manifest itself. Yet, here in this moment, the roads reveal yet another treachery, thus catching my feet and making fall. The moment in the air failed to describe the encounter with the floor, but I would not have to wait long for this moment to become clear. No description needed, I now knew.
First, my hands made contact as momentum slid the weight of my body down and forward. Pebbles, rocks, glass, and sand clung to my flesh and instantly married it. Not a happy union and close to death doing them part. Pain sent signals to my brain from all parts of the now motionless body hunkered on a steaming summer pavement yet strength to move failed me. The roads treachery has finally caught up to my speeding near success.
I lay motionless on that floor as I heard the footsteps of a competitor nearing the bend. Time was his name and he now past me by in camouflaged race shorts and shirt attire. His face took no heed to my distress as he flew on by. My eyes would thus torture me with the sight of his arrival to the finish line. I had to get up.
As I mustered the strength to rise, my body screamed in agony. Blood now blanketed me like marinated meat as I ventured towards the action of racing. My white racing shoes now sported a pinkish brown juxtaposition of blood and mud. Yet rain was not the culprit of the mud. My stride was awkward and my breath short when my strength failed me yet once again. With no energy to ask my arms to protect me, I leave my face to endure a painful reunion with the floor. Pain is now complete.
As I lay on my familiar acquaintance, I hear the heavy footsteps of another racer as he passes by and waves goodbye. Hope is her name and a strong runner is she. “I can’t let her win” I think to myself, but before that sentence is finished, hope is gone out of my sight, across the finish line and out of this race.
Pain binds me and keeps me near the treacherous floor. I hate them both and so I muster to at least leave one behind. I rise, carrying pain on my shoulders. Yet, pain is heavy and drags me back down to my most unwanted acquaintance; the floor. I lay there feeling the welcoming embrace of both pain and floor as the other racers pass by. Defeat; crosses the finish line. Discouragement; crosses the finish line. Anger, doubt, faith, peace, joy, perseverance and all the rest cross the finish line. I lay there waiting for my end for there is only one more racer and I hear his footsteps. There’s nothing else I can do. I lay here and accept my defeat.
The footsteps stop. I lack the strength to open my eyes but somehow I know the racer is staring at me. I feel my body rise…my whole body. I am being carried. The only person that could be possibly be lifting me is the last racer. I find my pain is disappearing as I give in to the racer’s embrace. Strength slowly comes to my body as I open my eyes in time to see the finish line ribbon pass by. I have crossed the finish line. I tilt my head forward to see the racer’s face. As I suspected, it is him! Grace is His name.