Asleep, 77 Days ~ I Was There

This is the second in a short series of my time in the Garden. You can click here to read of how I came to be there. It needs to be written for my children, my grandchildren. It was a life changing experience and needs to be put into words. To remember, to savour, to draw on when needed. It also needs to be written for those that love the Lord and wonder what happens upon our passing. It needs to be written for those that don't know Him. He is real, there is a place for us, and His promises you can count on.
I knew, with everything within me, that I was no longer part of the world. I knew, with clear and concise clarity, that I was no longer alive. Not in the earthly sense. It was as if every pore in my skin was tingling with anticipation and excitement. Remember when we were younger and we would sneak into the living room before daybreak to see if Santa had come? The lights of the Christmas tree would reflect off the gifts that were spread out for us. Santa never wrapped ours, so the bikes, the games, the things we'd asked for would be set out and arranged with care. It was such an exciting time in our childhood. Realizing I was in Paradise was more. The excitement within my soul was indescribable.

The first ones I saw were Jim and Miss Ora, Johnny's parents. She was to my right, kneeling on the path putting out seedlings. Jim was standing further down the path laughing. I do not recall hearing anything, not from them, but the joy on his face made me smile. I remember thinking, "Johnny is going to be so excited when he gets here. He is going to be so excited to see them!"

And he will be. For they looked so healthy, so peaceful. Like the Garden we were in. I felt the breeze lift my hair off my face and I remember curling my toes inward and feeling the softness of the graveled path. There was no sun, no bright light, but it was daytime and everything looked fresh and clean. The colors were vibrant and full. Then I saw him. My dad.

My father died in July of '04, a slow lingering death of cancer. But here? Here he looked younger and healthier than I've ever known him to be. I don't remember him being that young. He was watering an awesome stand of flowers that rivaled anything I've ever seen. I remember how the water sparkled and how happy daddy looked to be there watering those flowers. To be where he was.

I was also conscious of a Being to my right, just outside my peripheral vision. I was also aware of a great void behind me, not so much a darkness but a void nonetheless. There was not a single time that I wanted to turn and look behind. Not a single time that I wanted to see who, or what, stood beside me. Not a single time that I wanted to do anything more than soak in what was in front of me, to rest in the knowledge that I was there, that I was in His Garden, that I had been found worthy.

Even with John's mother closest to me, it was my father that I wanted to run to, to wrap my arms around him, to have him return the hug. Just as I poised to move, I heard, without spoken words, "Nancy, it's not your time. You have to go back." And just like that I was back in an earthly body, with tubes, and wires, and the scared faces of those I love here in this world. I did not feel sick. I did not feel any different, at that moment, than I had when I left Johnny to go with the nurse into the procedure room. I didn't know anything more than I needed to share with them what I had seen, where I had been, and what waits for us.

About a year later, while cleaning out some papers I came across some scribblings and partial sentences on copier paper. A cold chill crossed my heart as I realized what I was holding. Fighting tears, I read "I saw ddy" and "are yu a nurs or a angel". John confirmed that when I roused I was trying to talk to them, to tell them what I saw, where I had been. Not being able to talk, they had given me paper to write on. This was what I wrote.

"I saw ddy". I really and truly saw him. I was there. I was given the chance to see what awaits His children. The peace, the beauty, the calm were more than I have ever experienced and I've seen some awesome sights in my lifetime. To recognize those I loved reassures me. To know that dying held no pain soothes me. Regardless of what the body goes through, He comforts the soul and we feel no pain. The body does, for living is painful, but when it is our time there will be no pain.

And there is a time. For each of us. For me, it wasn't April 21, 2006. There is still a reason, a purpose for my time on earth. As long as there is breath in my body, I shall look to see what He has in store for me and watch for the opportunity to say, "There is a place. A place more wondrous than you can imagine, a place you don't want to miss." Being there? That was the easy part. Waking up? Waking up is when the nightmares began, when the days got long, and the nights were longer. Thankfully, I was kept so heavily medicated I was unaware of just how sick I was to become. But the memory of the Garden remained real, and today it still continues to provide comfort and brings calmness to my soul.

There were many that surrounded me during those 77 days and the following recovery period with their love, their support, and heartfelt prayers. Later I'll share with you about some of them, but for now rest assured that upon your passing from this earthly world, if you walk with the King, you will see what I saw and you will be just as fascinated at what He has prepared for His own. You will literally tingle with excitement. ~to be continued


Wife to Ben, Mama to Lily said...

Wow! I knew the ordeal you had been through was life changing but I didn't know of this trip you took. I am so glad you are sharing it. I can't even imagine how much more real God is to you today than before. I hold to His promises that someday I will see Him there also!

Christy Harris said...

Oh, wow...I'm not even sure how I found your blog but this has been like a drink of cool water for me this morning - my time in the desert seems to take a lot out of me and I never know how thirsty I am am until He leans down and gives me a drink. Thank you for sharing your story....

~ from The Letter Writer ~

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