The title of my last post https://drmarkmcd.com/2017/02/21/life-changing-effects-near-death-experience/ alluded to the effects of a near-death experience. Unbeknownst at the time to me, I was having one. I wouldn’t have a name for it until later in life.
All I knew, was that an end to my current life, in that moment, was a welcome proposition—a burning desire of the greatest magnitude.
The pain was entirely overwhelming and unconscionable. In each and every second, I was sure I would not live to see the next. But unimaginably, one more second would pass—until it didn’t.
And then, suddenly, completely, wonderfully, it was all over. The hurting stopped. I was pain-free, tranquil, and peaceful, at rest. I seemed to be floating above my body, aware of a drama continuing somewhere below, people moving and speaking urgently. But it didn’t really trouble me: I had never felt so happy, so content, and so calm.
I was lying on my back, facing the ceiling, with my knees bent at a 45 degree angle, in just the sort of ideal position one would assume sprawled in a La-Z-Boy recliner. It was as though I was suspended on a pillow-cushion of air above the operating table, my arms at my sides.
The air around me had gone from a cool, even chilling draft to a soothing blanket of warmth. It reminded me of relaxing on a sun-bathed beach with my eyes closed. I was enjoying the gentle heat through the eyelids and its radiant glow.
Though I was inexpressibly relaxed, my senses were yet humming at levels I had never before experienced. Instead of the tortuous pain there was heightened visual and tactile awareness. Above all, I just knew, without really understanding how, that I was close to passing over some type of threshold.
Unconditional love, forgiveness, and acceptance flowed over me, a blanket of security and comfort. It was marvelous, yet the promise of even more seemed to build and build.
If I continued drifting up the way I was going, towards the ceiling, I sensed, I would pass into some unknown state of eternal love, bliss, euphoria—free of all worries or concerns. I was giddy with joy, bombarded by an urge to laugh out loud.
In the grip of pain just a few moments earlier, it had seemed that time had stopped. Now I didn’t want time to resume, because that would mean this too would pass. I just wanted to linger in this blissful state, beyond description. I didn’t understand what was going on, but I had none of the anxiety commonly associated with things unknown.
A Divine Scheme
Everything was exactly just as it was intended to be. The world was perfectly aligned with all things in it.
Nothing was ever, or ever would be, anything other than exactly what it should be. All things—past, present, and yet to be—had a specific purpose and reason. My truth and existence resided in this moment. Everything was perfect, exactly as it was intended from the beginning of time, and would remain so forever.
And all of this was so plainly apparent that I felt like giggling at the simplicity and perfection. Oh, my God! Of course! Who else?
It was wonderful to be free from pain, but even that which I’d experienced did not matter any more. And it was hard to actually categorize it as “bad.” I knew that I had needed to suffer all that I had, to realize this current state of awareness.
No suffering is ever in vain. All pain has its purpose, and is part of the plan. The words of the old gospel song, “Amazing Grace”, came to mind, “I was blind, but now I see.”
I wasn’t actually looking with my eyes, but everything was coming into focus. My physical self was surrounded and suffused by soft light, an ethereal, luminous glow that caressed my body. As I moved slowly upward, the intensity of the brightness increased. Weightless and airy, I was thoroughly unconcerned with my physical existence. Whatever body I’d had up until now was merely a container for my real essence, my spirit, the true Mark.
The body, which had consumed so much attention from so many over the past ten days, was of no ultimate consequence. In place of the physical, I had a heightened awareness of the metaphysical. I could almost smell and taste love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. I vaguely remembered once reading or hearing that, in the Bible, these characteristics, these essences were called the “Fruits of the Spirit”; now I knew why. I could sense, even taste their sweet juices.
Beyond all of this, I knew I was close to something, someone immense, immeasurable. Someone in whose presence I felt loved, cherished, comforted, protected. Safe. It was complete bliss. It was God.
There were others around; angelic beings I could not see but somehow just knew were radiant, gentle, and strong. I could sense them guiding me, inviting me along a path of brilliant revelation.
Somewhere above, at least in my mind’s eye, was a square-shaped tunnel ascending a gentle slope. Reclining comfortably, my body was gradually floating up toward the tunnel’s peak.
Somehow, I knew that the tunnel ended not much further ahead, and that to go beyond was to cross to some other side, to an existence no longer here but there, a place and reality I’d yet to know, where the light was brightest. The prospect was overwhelming, but I was not fearful.
More From Others
Everything was so full, so complete, so as it should be, that there didn’t seem room for anything else. But then I became aware of something that amazed me further. Mom and Toby were there, here, with me. The sensation of their presence was like seeing, hearing, smelling, and touching them all at once.
I could not see them, but I knew they were there. There was no actual physical sensation, but it was almost like Mom was holding my hand. Grandpa Larry, Dad’s father, who had died when I was a baby, was with us too. They didn’t say anything, but at the same time I knew they were there to love me. I was excited, yet at the same time I also felt supremely calm.
It was as though I could somehow see what I was feeling, and it was beautiful. This kind of new dimension went further. I seemed to be able to communicate thoughts or questions just through my mind. I didn’t need to speak; they were just heard. And the answers came almost as soon as the questions were asked—from within me.
I had a sense of omniscience; I just knew, with a palatable certainty and knowledge that provoked laughter and joy. The “thirst” for knowledge didn’t exist because the answers came faster than the desire for them−nothing to cause anxiety.
Of course! That makes so much sense! I would tell myself as each question and answer rose and fell. It’s the only way it could be!
Simple Perfection, Life Changing
This certainty I was experiencing was pure, limitless joy. Everything was acceptance without question; it was all in accordance with the grand scheme of things, and it was all part of God’s perfect design and creation. How did I miss this before? It wasn’t for lack of knowing; perhaps a deficiency of faith?
Holy God, I thought. It’s amazing… so amazing.
It was a taste, a glimpse, and a slice of heaven. But somehow, I also knew that it was just a fraction of all that heaven would allow.
As suddenly as I had found myself floating in this euphoric moment I became aware of another truth—an incontestable reality. I could not remain where, and as, I was. Nor would I be passing over the threshold to what I perceived to be the preferred ultimate state of existence. It was not my time.
Again, without any words being spoken, I simply knew that I was needed at home with Dad and my brothers. I would survive the events in the operating room below me, to continue my life with them. There would be much more pain to endure. But with God’s help, this too we’d survive. We would share our strength and our love, enduring trials and tribulations together.
Somehow, I also knew that, just as Kathy had told me only hours before—could it really only be so recently? — I had a definite purpose for my life, one that was yet to be fulfilled.
For now, Mom, Toby, and Grandpa Larry would wait. I had more living to do. And while it may not all be easy, I knew, beyond a shadow of doubt that God would be with me all the way.
Then the comforting sleep that had eluded me wrapped me like a blanket.
The next awareness I had that Friday August, the thirteenth, was waking in the burn ICU after 11 PM. Since that day I’ve always trusted in a Higher Power or God regardless of life’s circumstances. Also, I’ve met many others who’ve shared life changing testamony with similar characteristics or NDE’s. Still others have realized life-affirming blessings with a common denominator—a loving God.
Feel inspired to share your experience? Others need to hear it, now more than ever.