I cannot say whether it was a vision or an out-of-body experience, but it was more real than life, and it changed me forever.
I was in the hospital to have my fourth child. Number three baby had been a
difficult delivery, but this one was the easiest of the four. After three boys,
we were utterly euphoric to have a daughter. The morning after was still magic.
Flowers, phone calls, friends.
Then, about 4:45, pain like a bolt ripped through my interior. I called the nurse, who was passing dinner trays, who was irritated at being summoned, who was young and inexperienced. For a variety of reasons, I endured the agonizing pain for five hours before the nurse made her final rounds prior to going off duty. I had felt a huge protuberance on my left groin and I asked her to check it. It was a hematoma the size of a child's football.
Next recollection: coming to following surgery, wrapped up like a mummy, and the pure bliss of no pain. I remember my pastor holding my hand as I awakened one time, and he was crying! He was deeply touched at the "close call that nearly took this young mother from the family that so needed her."
My strength slowly increased. Everything was looking up. The baby was enchanting, our joy in her was heartfelt, and I was looking forward to going home. But something was desperately wrong. I realized that I was "homesick," homesick for something more than home. The feeling was utterly irrational, devastating and grievous beyond all reason. Why should I feel that way, when I had everything-the love of husband and family, a secure home, faithful friends?
Then, in the next twilight, a tiny knowledge was given to me to help my conscious mind understand the transcendent experience that my inner mind-my soul-knew and grieved for. I cannot say whether it was a vision or an out-of-body experience, but it was more real than life, and it changed me forever.
The restored fragment of my vision, like the sudden memory of something long-forgotten, was this: I saw myself in another time and place! And I experienced Joy! Not mere happiness, satisfaction, pleasure, amusement-this was a soaring, vaulted, surging rejoicing that made bubbles in my being and opened my heart in knowing. I was running, and it felt marvelous. Every cell of this body was glad, every sense heightened. The air-take the best, sweetest summer morning freshness and raise that sweetness by tenfold. Hearing, smell, feel-all my senses were perfected and I knew that this was a restoration-this was "the missing" piece being replaced.
I was running along a meadow-like area on a hillside, and at the "Y" of two paths someone waited for me whom I knew. I have never known such a release of satisfaction and certainty as I threw myself into waiting arms. And all the questing was fulfilled. That completeness still lies in my being like brandy-a warmth, a light that time has tested, invincible to doubt and stress.
I recall one other visual impression: of a city on the hill's crest-white, domed, futuristic and luminous like the setting sun on whipped cream clouds. I've turned the experience over and over in my mind seeking more: the waiting figure-I didn't see it as deity or what I might imagine an angelic presence to be, but I am certain that whoever it was was known and beloved and fulfilling. We do not go as strangers to another place but as glad pilgrims to a homeland.
My fragment has precious clues: identity-my "is" stays me. And much more than me, a vibrancy with every sense magnified. A perfection of place, and great waves of joy in being there again. So I knew why my heart, amidst this world's blessedness, was desolate and yearning. I longed for "home." My true, spiritual home. But the miracle of that recalled fragment was so precious and promising that I was dazzled and puzzled instead of grieving.
I've never had any clear insight into why the recall was given. Occasionally I'll read something that reveals that this knowing has been given to others also. But it left me one special gift. The death of a loved one may leave you in depths of aloneness and grief. But it also brings a great rejoicing for the one who now knows the wonder and completeness of that other place! And for myself, a glad expectancy-a certainty of wonder, waiting on my day of reunion.
Pat P., New Castle, PA