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

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1 comment:

  1. I read the first copy and loved it, now reading the rewrite and when I didn't think it could get any better it proved me wrong.
    Cindy's sense of humor is astounding through the face of the adversity of her situation.
    Her book is a must read especially when you are going through the trials and tribulations on this earth. Her book is enlightening to see there are others suffering far greater. We see a living God, a God of Love and Mercy.
    He supplied the strength and heart that Cindy
    needed. He provided all her needs when things looked hopeless. What a Mighty God we see revealed in Cindy's healing.