In the summer of 1971, I was a typical fifteen year old girl, happy one minute, discontented and insecure the next. A good kid, but as most girls that age, confused, tired of my family and frightened about the unknown future. It was a time of searching.
That June was hot, the grass, dry and parched. It hadn’t rained the entire month. On the last day of June, a light rain began to fall amidst a bright sun-shiny sky and my family and I couldn’t resist going outside. The smell of the wet, sun-dried grass was sweet and the cool raindrops refreshing and renewing. As we played in the rain – a single lightning strike appeared. It struck me and a nearby tree – rendering me lifeless. (I never felt the strike – a question I am always asked.)
I was in a void-like place, watching a silent but colorful, ‘film-strip’ like, event of past occasions of my life. This void-like place was black and white, like that of an old TV. But, the pictures were colorful and very specific. One event was of me, as a young child, pushing a younger sister off a tricycle. This was like a running ‘film-strip’, it did not pause, and it just kept moving. The events were of times I had hurt someone’s feelings. I didn’t feel judged, but I was made aware, of how I had affected others.
Next, I was in the presence of who I believe to be Jesus. I did not visually see Him, but knew very clearly that He was present.
I was in a void-like place with Him, it was a bit like the beautiful, billowy clouds you see when in an airplane, but a black (or gray) and white version of that sight.
While in His presence, I felt such indescribable love, warmth, acceptance, patience, tolerance, peace, calm and serenity. As you can guess – with all these adjectives, the wonder of it cannot be described in a way to explain the profoundness of it all. Visuals were not needed. Understanding and love was all that mattered.
While in His presence, I felt that the knowledge of the universe was all mine. All, questions were answered and made complete sense. We communicated freely, not with words, but clearly and more concise than any conversation I have ever had. I had no worries of this world.
He told me very clearly, ‘IT’S ALL, ABOUT LOVE.’ I was also told that suicide was not my choice to make.
Time did not exist. It is as if time is here just for our Earthly convenience. I know that sounds wild, but it made perfect sense at the time.
I then became aware of my body on the ground. I was watching from above, but could see clearly and distinctly, almost as if I could zoom-in if needed. There were no emotions, except I heard a rescuer say to my dad, ‘It’s been over six minutes, if she comes back now – there may be brain damage.’ I remember thinking ‘Oh bull, he doesn’t know what he’s talking about!’ I suppose the rescuer was attempting to get my father to think about ending CPR. Other than that, I had no emotion about what was happening. My mind and soul were not a part of my body and were not concerned about the activity below. I felt like a silent observer.
Next, I was clearly given a choice: to ‘stay’ or to ‘go back’. I felt very much, that I wanted to stay where I was, but I looked down, and saw my usually, calm-in-a-crisis mom, nearly hysterical and very distraught. I felt her sorrow, and was instantly back on Earth in my body. Apparently, just thinking and feeling mom’s pain was my decision to return.
On the way to the hospital, I mentioned the experience to my mom. She suggested that it must have been a dream. I knew it was not, but in 1971, the term near-death-experience did not exist. Without mentioning it again, I felt strongly that the experience was not socially acceptable and then suppressed or repressed it for many years.
The experience did not re-enter my conscious thought until about six or seven years later, when as a young nurse, a co-worker asked me to join her for a nursing conference. The conference was about death and dying – I thought it a bit morbid sounding, but she persisted, and I agreed to go.
As I sat in the conference auditorium, only about seven rows from the woman speaker, this speaker, to the point of feeling embarrassed, mesmerized me. I felt that this little, old lady was opening me like a book and exposing my hidden pages, until I had no secret thoughts – she knew them all. She knew who I was and understood how I thought and felt about life and afterlife.
The speaker was Dr. Elisabeth Kubler-Ross, at that point I’d never heard of her. She unlocked the memories of my NDE and allowed me to feel okay about having had one. An incredibly liberating feeling at that time. I sat unable to move. I wanted desperately to speak to her personally but was too shy and inwardly emotional.
After the conference I no longer needed to repress my NDE, and within a few years the term, near-death-experience was everywhere. Though this gave me a personal sense of freedom, I never told another person about my NDE for another five or six years.
For many years, I was angry at God and confused. With time, I realized the anger was because I felt cheated. When asked whether I wanted to ‘stay’ or ‘go back’ – I had felt I was rushed back here – I wanted to ‘think it over’ more. I also was a bit angry that I had to return. (In later years, I realized that coming back was my decision, but not at this point.)
For twenty years, I stayed away from any organized religion. (I never doubted God or His existence. If someone had asked me, ‘Do you believe if God?’ My answer would have been and still is ‘I don’t BELIEVE. I KNOW!’)
During this time of anger and frustration, I sought out some new-age spiritual things. Much of this was exciting and intriguing and at first provided a very free feeling. But, new-age stuff is very self-directed. When troubles come, it is difficult to rely on oneself for comfort and guidance. I was left feeling very empty. I needed to feel the full unconditional love, comfort, strength and patience of our Lord, and for Him to wrap me in His spirit, fill me and hold me, and then walk with me. Upon letting Him in, my anger began to subside and once that happened I started to feel His spirit lead me.
One day I felt compelled to find a Bible that I had been given shortly before my NDE. I had never really read it – wasn’t interested, thought it confusing. But that day, I opened it blindly to whatever page fell open. The page spoke of the wisdom of God, and how the spiritually immature can read and hear God’s word, but are unable to understand. As I read, the words seemed to be absorbed literally into me, as though I recognized them and knew them somehow. I read for hours, feeling spiritually fed and renewed.
Now, I feel close to God when I read the Bible daily and interact with other believers. Religious organizations will always have conflicts and leaders that are stubborn and rigid. They are human and imperfect. Many people gain a Christ-centered life through organized religion. I was given a short cut but didn’t recognize it as that until the past eight or nine years – I don’t want to waste any more precious time. No one has all the answers. If we allow ourselves to be led by His spirit, truth will always be evident. I now feel, myself growing forward spiritually and being nourished every day in a way that is healthy and fulfilling.
For the first time, in all these years, I feel as though I’m beginning to do the work He sent me to do. It is a peaceful and contented feeling to be so full of His spirit. I try to seek His guidance in all that I do. When I manage to do that, it keeps my life running smoothly.
He is always with us – if we don’t feel Him, it is because we walked away – not Him.
Date NDE Occurred: 6/30/1971
At the time of your experience, was there an associated life-threatening event? Yes lightning strike Clinical death struck by lightning
How do you consider the content of your experience? Positive
The experience included: Out of body experience
Did you feel separated from your body? Yes I had no form, I just was.
At what time during the experience were you at your highest level of consciousness and alertness? Physically, not breathing, CPR being given. Mentally, very alert, more alert than any other time.
Did time seem to speed up or slow down? Everything seemed to be happening at once; or time stopped or lost all meaning Time did not exist. I got the impression that it is only here for our convenience.
Did you pass into or through a tunnel? No
Did you encounter or become aware of any deceased (or alive) beings? Yes I believe I met Christ. Not a physical presence, but an all-encompassing, very real presence, with the clearest communication I have ever experienced. He was with me – filling me with His love and knowledge. He let me know so many things and everything made sense.
The experience included: Void
Did you see an unearthly light? No
Did you seem to enter some other, unearthly world? No
The experience included: Strong emotional tone
The experience included: Special Knowledge
Did you suddenly seem to understand everything? Everything about the universe I seemed to be given all answers and knowledge of the mysteries of life – but, these things were not sent with me when I returned – just the memory or sense of having known them there. They seem to be hidden in my mind.
The experience included: Life review
Did scenes from your past come back to you? My past flashed before me, out of my control see narrative
The experience included: Vision of the future
Did scenes from the future come to you? Scenes from the world’s future I believe I did, but was not allowed to return with that knowledge.
Did you come to a border or point of no return? I came to a barrier that I was not permitted to cross; or was sent back against my will I was definitely given a choice: to return or not. The very moment I looked down and saw my distraught mom and began to wonder how she was feeling – I was instantly back in my body.
God, Spiritual and Religion:
What is your religion now? Moderate liberal Lutheran
Did you have a change in your values and beliefs because of your experience? Yes I have aged – we all grow and change with life experiences. I felt very frustrated the first ten or twelve years.
The experience included: Presence of unearthly beings
After the NDE:
Was the experience difficult to express in words? Yes The lack of vocabulary to describe the feelings of sheer peace and contentment and love.
Do you have any psychic, non-ordinary or other special gifts after your experience that you did not have before the experience? Yes Sometimes I see flashes of pictures, like still shots, of people or places. They frustrate me – I don’t understand them, or what to do with them. I have seen moving colored lights in my house – they seemed to be running and giggling. Sometimes I sense someone present, when no one is. On occasion, I feel fed a message to give to someone – if I ignore it – the message persists until delivered. I always know who the message is for.
Are there one or several parts of your experience that are especially meaningful or significant to you? Best: being there Worst: living in the confinement of this imperfect world and not having many others to communicate with who understand beyond the ‘junk’ of this world.
Have you ever shared this experience with others? Yes Initially mom. She thought it a dream. I was able to share it again with her when she had a stroke – she said, ‘I’ve always wondered about that.’ Others that I trust – they mostly just listen.
At any time in your life, has anything ever reproduced any part of the experience? No
Is there anything else that you would like to add about your experience? I’m sure there is more – but no.
Are there any other questions that we could ask to help you communicate your experience? see above