Tuesday, July 27, 2010

What Happens When We Die?

Once all the machines were hooked up, beeping and high-pitched alarms sounded like an out-of-tune marching band. My heart beat furiously and sent a wave of sharp pain into my neck and right arm. Although I was still conscious, I felt like I was slipping away. I didn’t know if it was the medicines being pushed through IV lines or the overwhelming nausea that was paralyzing me.

Slowly, the room became a blur. Screaming sounds from machines and panicky voices from personnel faded. The muted scene became as if I were watching through an old glass pane, wavy and rippled with age. Nurses and doctors raced to work on me.

“She’s coding!” one nurse yelled. “She’s not breathing and we don’t have a pulse!”

Her alarmed look flashed briefly before me.

Although my lifeless body was being assaulted by attempts to start my heart back up, I wasn’t concerned. I was still, placid and unable to do anything. It was like I was outside my body, looking down. Even though a steady calmness held me from fear, one thing was sure to me: I knew I was dying.

Watching from above the exam table was like hovering over a movie set as the actors played out a scripted scene. I was there, but in a mystical way I never had felt before. Because I was weightless and inert, none of the treatments being done had any effect on me. I felt no pain. I felt no fear.

Behind me was a powerful presence of pure white; not simply a bright light, but a pureness beyond feeble words found in any language. I was drawn to this backdrop, wanting to hold onto the motionless entity. It was omnipotent. I knew I was in God’s presence. He was right there behind me, watching as if we were both producers monitoring the actor’s parts.

I spoke to Him, inaudibly to anyone in the room or me. My thoughts were sufficient for both of us to communicate.

“Lord, please don’t let me die here in this ER all alone. Please, Lord, save me.”

Somehow, He assured me it wasn’t time for me to go.

I took a gasp of air and regained consciousness. Harsh sensations of the real world smacked me out of the tranquil visitation. My body wriggled and I felt my arms twist and contort. Cardiac seizures further threatened to take my life.

Alongside the exam table were doctors, nurses, and the hospital chaplain. Something bad must have happened for the chaplain to be standing there with his white collar and prayer stole.

“We thought we were going to lose you, young lady,” one of the nurses chimed at me. She continued to pump medications through the IV lines.

Two doctors worked to calm the seizures and recover a stable heart rate so there would be no more near-death experiences. No one wanted to come that close again.

* * *

A near-death experience and an encounter with God changed my perspective about dying. I always feared how it could happen. Would I drown or suffer a painful, slow death? This phobia made me feel cowardly as a Christian. Shouldn’t I know that God is not going to let me die in a tortuous, painful way? Grabbing on to a concept of total security in the face of death is something I never imagined I could do.

But those few moments I visited with God were unexplainable. I was at peace and felt protected when I transitioned to that altered state. In a way, I wanted to linger and remain where it was safe and repose. Even though I returned to the brutal reality of mortal life, the realization that death had no power over me freed me up to shrug off the dread of tragedy.

Excerpt from Cindy Valenti-Scinto's Book, A Heart Like Mine, Chapter 1, pages 6-7. Want to know more? Order A Heart Like Mine, Finding God's Will for Your Life: Order Here at a Discount and with Author Signing

PLEASE COMMENT! 8^) Visit me at http://www.cindyscinto.com

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Time Keeps on Ticking, Ticking, Ticking...

Lately, I'm receiving a lot of article links, postings, boastings, and advice columns on time management. I like to speculate that time management is not an issue for me. But it is.

I wrote an article for the Mermaids of the Lake, (yes, I am an aspiring Mermaid) and have to follow my own advice this week. http://www.mermaidsofthelake.com/news.asp?id=394

Somehow, things get out of control and I find myself close to a burnout. Like a nitro race car that spins it's tires, shrieks rubber, and blows smoke; when it's done with the quarter mile sprint, maybe 7 seconds later, it's done.

I am determined to get back in the right lane. My husband, a dear, sweet man, (hmmmm...mostly) made a mistake the other day--he mentioned I was a procrastinator. Oh, how dangerous is that? His line stung and I retaliated in my mind. ... I am not a procrastinator ...I just have a lot to do.

The Northwest Christian Author newsletter from January 2010 had a great article on time management written by Agnes C. Lawless:

"#9. Learn to say no - One of the best time-savers is saying no to requests that don’t contribute to your goals. When the persons asking are friends, family members, or close associates, you may find it difficult to decline. But you can say, 'I’m sorry. I’m busy that day,' or 'That won’t fit into my schedule.' You must live by your priorities, not those of other people." The Northwest Christian Author, Volume 21, Issue #7, http://www.nwchristianwriters.org/

This morning I cleaned three items, put things away, planned dinner, and vowed to follow through. Too many friends complain to me about not getting things done. But they say yes to everything that sounds good. JUST SAY NO! And do not offer an explanation. And do not require one from a friend who says no. We tell each other to say no when we have to, but then when we offer a no, it's not accepted or a popular answer.

Don't try to convince someone who says no to change their mind...even if it seems like a great offer to you.

Want to change an area of your life? Plan the time frame to do it, warn family and friends you are not available, then DO IT. Your life will be better and you and everyone around you will benefit.


Visit me at http://www.cindyscinto.com