following is my 1985 near-death experience testimony.
It looked to be a cold winter on this particular fall day, and I was bracing the brisk wind to go for a walk along the forested path I followed every day. The path began as steps cut off limestone descending
down towards a small river which wound its way through a forested glen in the otherwise flat terrain of central Ohio. In a land of cornfields stretching from horizon to horizon, this swath of green was a refuge I
valued greatly, as it was just these walks which served to balance my mental compass when confusion reigned inside me. The path I followed crossed the river upon a small wooden bridge and then forked just on the other
side with one branch leading upstream and the other leading down. At the point of the fork grew a young sapling tree, not more than two inches in diameter around its
trunk. I found myself looking forward to seeing each day as I stood pondering which direction I would travel during my daily walks along the river path.
This particular day marked the first time in several days that I had ventured out into the brisk wintry weather and down into the even cooler depths of the river-cut wooded glen. I was alone as I made my way down the stone steps, where even on the busiest of days I rarely saw more than only a few people venture
forth. And so it was with a great sense of confusion and overwhelming despondency that I was greeted just past the bridge with the sight of my favorite little tree broken and lying dead across the fork in the path. I could not fathom why someone would feel compelled to do such a
thing. All I could think of just then was that I should at the very least say a prayer for it, to see it on its way.
I crouched down beside it
and steadied myself by holding onto one of its outstretched branches. With my other hand I set my fingers over the
break where the split trunk was still green and tinged with the gleam of sticky, wet sap.
I thought to say this short prayer, not to God, but simply as a shared wish for a safe journey away from this life and into the
next. No sooner had my eyes closed did my vision begin, obliterating from my mortal awareness all sense of time and space.
In reflection, I cannot say whether seconds passed or centuries, but I found myself (inasmuch as I recognize myself to be) standing beside the young sapling, now whole
again, a form wrought of white fire glowing from the tip of its roots to the tips of its outstretched branches, and myself seemingly beside it, aglow of that same white fire which burned as pure will within me.
I had a sense of great urgency coupled with a clear sense of
duty to lead this lost soul across the dark void between life and death, and to deliver it into the afterlife. Indeed from the sapling beside me I was nearly overwhelmed by its own confusion and terror; lost and floating in a dark void which saw around us other souls similarly drifting lost and directionless. But I had no time to ponder this new reality in which I found myself as I felt myself drawn with great urgency along an unseen path towards
"the house of
Guiding beside me the young sapling so recently detached from its short life as a tree.
As we drew nearer to the gateway to the afterlife, the threshold into the house of death, the sapling too began to feel the pull which had been guiding
me. Suddenly before us, a sliver of light opened within that starless
void. As the sapling was drawn over that threshold, I too felt a warmth which obliterated all my senses, filling me only with content too deep to put into words. I wanted then to follow the sapling in, to join with that all-pervading warmth and light, but where it had seemed that the sapling had been pulled in over the threshold of
light. I felt myself gently but firmly pushed away and with that gentle push, I opened my
eyes and I was back in the mortal world again.