The twin ruby doors swung open as a heavy prism of rainbow colors flooded Patientia’s countenance. She had waited for this day all her life, but never anticipated it happening like this.
The Hall of the Celestial gleamed in the manifold aura of the eightfold. There were familiar hues of red and orange, yellow and blue, indigo and violet against the magnificent gold.
She allowed a moment to look at herself, hoping that she would catch at least a bit of glow on her skin.
Patientia was finally here, allowed in the company of the celestial hierarchy; of her sisters and still she could not ascend.
Only by the grace of the celestial could one enter the hall and lay prostrate before the altar of the celestial hierarchy. Finally, she would witness the hall destined for her, but as a visitor, not as one of them.
Better this than nothing, she thought.
Patientia ran her fingers over the sides of her grey frock. She tried to smooth over the wrinkles and dust off the mothballs, in vain.
It was so embarrassing, her bare feet faltered past the threshold, kissed by the warmth of the golden floor. She tip-toed, scared she would infect it with her commonness.
The weight of the room; of her sisters’ aura slouched her back.
Patientia couldn’t help but feel shabby, underdressed and unprepared. Nevertheless, a summoning by the celestials was never to be ignored. This much Love had impressed upon her from the day she herself had been summoned by the mighty light before the council of elders for her ascension.
Young as she had been, Patientia could still remember all her sisters’ ascension to the celestial hierarchy. Love was the first and most prepared of the eight. Ascending was easy for her for she was patient, kind, did not envy, nor boast.
Love did not dishonor others nor was she self-seeking. She was not easily angered nor did she keep a record of wrongs. She rejoiced in the truth, always protected others, always trusted, always hoped and always persevered.
Love never ever failed.
This was why she sat in the company of the tri-fold among Faith and Hope. It was why of the tri-fold, the greatest was and would always be Love.
Even Patientia’s younger sisters, Self Control and Gentleness had ascended before her.
Why is it that I cannot ascend?
Love motioned for Patientia to enter. Her ruby red gleam was brightest in the hall, warm and inviting from the centre of the altar. Beside her were the seven; Joy, Peace, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness and Self Control.
They were divinely glorious. Beauty envied their very radiance for their countenance was fed by the immortal divinity of the mighty light.
The weight of their glory enveloped Patientia and though she tried, she could not hold her own any longer. Her knees buckled and she fell prostrate, unable to walk any further.
“I am not worthy to stand in your presence. Forgive my appearance. I could not do it.”
Joy breathed a chuckle. “It is not worthiness that invites you to the hall of the celestial sister, rather the opposite. Arise and stake your claim. ”
Patientia hesitated. “What have I to claim before the eightfold? I am nothing. I have nothing to offer.”
Love smiled, flooding the room with a brilliant cascade of scarlet effervescence. “Nonsense…! What haven’t you got to offer sister? Surely you are aware of our reasons for summoning you here? Arise and stake your claim.”
Even in her prostate state she could still feel their aura; see the expressions on their faces. Their countenance was as potent as the mighty light, permeating the physical to breach the soul.
They were beautiful, ascended, wonderful and glorious. Yet she was, well, ordinary.
Patientia sighed, the warmth and weight of Love’s aura straddling a stream of tears from her eyes. She felt utterly abashed.
“I am not. I have no claim here. I have nothing. I am ashamed to call you sisters.”
Joy chuckled, filling the room with sparks of indigo light. “But why should you Patientia? Come on, let me tell her.”
Self Control refused. “Now now Joy, she must figure it out for herself. We have waited this long, surely we can wait a moment longer. She must do it on her own. Arise and stake you claim patientia.”
Though she was younger than Patientia, Self Control wore an aura of experience unlike any of the seven.
Patientia sobbed. “What do you mean? I have no glow, I am not extraordinary. In spite of all the time that has passed I have not managed to ascend. Perhaps it is not my fate to join you.”
Self-Control stepped forward, making her way towards Patientia. Her footsteps made the golden floor glow in burnished hues of orange, increasing the weight on Patientia.
“Your capacity to accept, to tolerate delay without becoming annoyed or anxious, Patientia it moved the mighty light beyond expression. It moves us daily. You are meant to join us. So arise and stake your claim.”
Patientia broke out into a wail, overwhelmed by the growing warmth.
“Please, spare me the embarrassment. I should have walked into your presence yet I lie here prostrate because of you. I cannot do it, I haven’t the strength to be like the eightfold. I have nothing to offer the mighty light. I am nothing.”
Gentleness appeared beside her, her embrace like a waterfall of tingly sensations.
“On the very contrary actually… you are the most something of us all. Please sister, arise and stake your claim.”
Begrudgingly Patientia tried to lift her head but couldn’t. She tried and tried again but the weight was excruciating.
“I can’t.” Patientia insisted.
“Try.” Self-Control added.
She did, still nothing.
“I can’t, I’m too weak.” Patientia insisted, wailing.
“Just a little more sister, just try.” Self-Control added.
“I’m tired, I’m not strong enough. I’m not like the rest of you. I’m nothing special.” Patientia insisted.
“You are strong enough, you are like the rest of us, you are more special than you know.” Self-Control added.
In a last attempt, Patientia willed herself to do so and when she opened her eyes, she was stunned.
Beneath her shabby frock was a bright prism of rainbow colors, flashing and sparking in effervescent light. Unlike the light she had seen in the room when she entered however, this light was coming from her skin.
Patientia jumped back startled. “What’s happening to me?”
Joy jumped, her large white wings bursting with indigo fire. “She’s doing it! I want to tell her! Let me tell her”
“It must happen of her own free will, so you will do well to exercise a bit of patience.” Self-control said with a smile. Her orange gown glittered as if it were alive, even smoldering.
“Fine!” Joy said dejectedly, landing beside Patientia, “But it’s pretty obvious at this point.”
Patientia let her eyes trail down to her hands, then her feet and legs. It was the most glorious thing she had ever seen.
Her skin flashed red then orange, yellow then green, blue then indigo, violet, then a burst of them all at once. It was warm yet cold, bright yet mellow. It was strange, like a thousand little sparks going off inside of her.
Self Control smiled.“To you maybe, but not to her, not yet at least…”
Patientia looked back at her sisters, now all gathered and standing beside her.
Unlike before, the weight of their presence though heavy was somewhat tolerable. She allowed herself to see them for the very first time, look beyond the colors and flashing light and the most peculiar thing happened.
In each of their faces she saw her own.
Patientia closed her eyes immediately, rubbed them furiously with her hands and opened them again.
It was the same, as if she was looking into a mirror, 8 mirrors even, each reflecting her own face. “Am I going mad?”
The laughter was unanimous.
Love smiled and the room burst in red flames. “I think she’s almost there.”
Patientia did not share their enthusiasm. “Almost where…? This makes no sense. Why do I see myself in all of you? Why am I glowing in all your colors?”
Faithfulness grinned through her yellow mask, kneeling on the golden floor before Patientia. “Because there is a piece of all of us in you, as there is a piece of the mighty light in all of us.”
Patientia’s glow brightened.
Kindness knelt as well, her cloak of sapphire smoke billowing about her. “There is no love, no joy, no peace, no kindness or goodness or faithfulness, even self-control without patience.”
Patientia’s glow brightened even more.
Self Control knelt beside them. “And there is no glow without the mighty light, no light without the divine. But none of these are given freely.”
Patientia’s glow brightened if possible even more.
Joy knelt as well. “One must find themselves through time, and no small measure of waiting.”
Again Patientia’s glow brightened bit more.
“Waiting and groping in the dark before you finally see the light and head towards it. When you arise and stake your claim.” Goodness added kneeling before Patientia.
Immediately she did, the room was bathed in a kaleidoscope of rainbow colors, drowning out all of the other colors in the room.
Patientia was panicking now. “Goodness? Love? Where did everybody go? What is happening to me?”
Looking down at herself, Patientia saw that the light was in fact coming from her. “Is it finally happening? Am I finally ascending?”
Love held her hand and Patientia could see her, but only her. “In the hall of celestials, all things are revealed as is before the mighty light. There is nothing there that has not always been there. You were always a celestial, but now you are much much more than that.”
Patientia shook her head.“But, this does not make sense. I am a commoner, I am nothing. I did not even have the strength to stand before you.”
Love smiled, her countenance bearable now. “You bear and have always borne much more than strength sister.”
Love’s smile widened. “It is true that In the hall of virtues, only by the grace of the celestial can one lay prostrate. But you forget that humility is the highest form of honor in the presence of the mighty light.”
Love lowered and Patientia followed her gaze, all the way down to her own legs. To her surprise, she was standing. Startled she looked back up at Love.
Patientia smiled amidst streaming tears. “I’m standing!”
Love chuckled as the room shook. “That you are…and it is such a wonderful sight.”
Then Love knelt before Patientia as well. “Now we must all kneel before you as all the celestial do before the 12 virtues.”
Patientia squeezed Love’s hand, feeling quite overwhelmed with Joy.“12 Virtues…? Do you mean?”
Love nodded.“Yes sister… You are now ascended even higher than those before you, for your temper, your calm, your resilience. You were always greater than us all.”
“No fair! I wanted to tell her.” Joy spoke from somewhere beyond the light as laughter rang in the hall.
As Patientia laughed, her sisters coming back to view now, her grey frock burst into golden flame. It was immediately replaced by a brilliant long flowing golden gown of immaculate sequencing of midnight stars. Her magnificence was no different from the brilliance of the hall itself and she was more brilliant, more glorious than the celestial hierarchy; the very first to advance to the assembly of the virtues.
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