Hello, Mr. Williams. I don't know if you're still collecting near-death experiences or not, but here is one from a friend of mine who passed away this past Wednesday. It was written by me to send to our church congregation, but he gave me permission to send it out to whomever I thought might like to read it.
M.L. Gordon and wife, Linda, have been active members of Hickory Grove United Methodist church since 1980. Many in the congregation have been touched and inspired by the love and dedication of these two people. It is in this same spirit of love that M.L. would like to share his story.
In 1962, M.L. joined the United States Army and was shipped to Fort Gordon, Georgia to begin basic training. After eight weeks, an outbreak of spinal meningitis spread through the barracks. Two of M.L.s fellow soldiers came down with the disease, but M.L. was seemingly unaffected. Finishing his 10 weeks of basic training, M.L. continued on to Fort Ord in California. Again, meningitis spread through the fort, but still M.L. believed he was untouched by the devastating disease. After leaving Fort Ord, however, M.L. began showing signs of chronic illness. In February of 1966, he was diagnosed by the Veteran's Administration in Durham, NC with a condition known as Adhesive Arachnoiditis, an inflammation of the dural arachnoid layer within the spinal cord, thought to be a result of repeated exposure to the meningitis virus. In April of 1974, M.L. underwent surgery in an attempt to stop the infection from spreading, but the procedure was unsuccessful. Over the next 10 years, the infection slowly and methodically began paralyzing him. By 1984, M.L. was a quadriplegic, completely paralyzed from the neck down.
In March of 2003, M.L. was recovering from cancer that took his bladder and prostate gland when he developed pneumonia. While in intensive care at Carolinas Medical Center battling a severe infection from the pneumonia, M.L.'s blood pressure dropped to 47/26. As the medical staff rushed to his aid, he had the following amazing experience...
The last thing I remember before I went under was the nurses in the room calling, "Mr. Gordon, open your eyes. Open your eyes." I tried, but it was too hard. I couldn't even make a tear come out.
When I woke up, I was standing in a black, black tunnel. I couldn't see. I looked to the left, I looked to the right. Nothing. Total darkness. I said, "Well, which way do I go?" Now this was the part that was strange. I was on my feet walking, so I moved to the left. I kept walking to the left and went some ways. I have no idea how far I walked. It could have been 3 blocks or 3 miles. I had no sense of time. After awhile, I saw a tiny little white light. I walked towards it and it got brighter and brighter. I couldn't believe how bright it got. And, suddenly, I was on a road, paved in gold. There was a golden gate in front of me. Beyond the gate were buildings. They were so bright I couldn't tell what color they were.
When I looked through the gate I saw Linda's (my wife's) daddy (who died in 2001), Linda's grandmother, my mother (who died in 1998), and my brother (who died in 1999), and a dog I had named Spot. I even know what they were wearing: Linda's daddy had on blue jeans, black shoes, and a black and red checked shirt he always wore. My mother had on a light blue blouse and blue pedal pushers. My brother was wearing a white shirt and bermuda shorts. Linda's grandmother had on a straw hat and a yellow bathrobe she always wore. She was going toward a lake with a fishing pole over her shoulder. And my dog Spot, who seemed to be about six or seven months old, was pulling on the edge of her robe to play.
Linda's daddy spoke to me. "Son, we've been waiting on you for a long time. Come on in."
"I've been looking forward to seeing you all for a long time, too," I said, and I put my hand on the lever to open the gate.
Now I've always told Linda that when I get to heaven, the first thing I want to do is walk the dusty road that Christ walked. As I stood with my hand on the gate, I looked off toward the right, and there was my dusty road. I couldn't believe it. I could see it right there, just as I always pictured it.
I started to turn the lever to open the gate when I heard this voice saying, "M.L., go back. It's not your time."
I said, "But I don't want to go back!"
And all of the sudden I heard Linda's voice calling me, saying "M.L., I love you, and I need you."
"Please don't do this to me," I pleaded. "Let me go."
Then there was another voice, coming from beyond the fence saying, "No son, it's time for you to go back." And Linda's daddy said the same thing: "Not yet. Linda still needs you."
I started moving back in the tunnel. It was so black! Then suddenly it began to get lighter and lighter. I woke up in the hospital, and Linda was there.
Since then, I've had the same dream four times. The first three times was in the ICU at CMC. The fourth time I was home in my own bed and I stopped breathing. What woke me up was Linda shaking me by the shoulder and telling me to breathe. The dream never changes. Except one night, it was God who told me I had to go back. I argued and pleaded with Him.
"Why do you want me to go back, Lord? What use could you possibly have for this broken down, tired, wretched body? If you've got something you want me to do, tell me!"
And He answered, "You'll find out in MY time."
Then he sent a thunderbolt down and hit me in the butt with it.
The experience is still in my head. It's still as vivid as the first time I had it. I can still see that beautiful road paved in gold. I wanted to go through that gate so bad. Two more seconds and I would've been inside. I wanted to stay there more than anything. I was at peace. I could move my arms and legs. No wheelchair. No bed. My body was whole.
Now don't get me wrong. I'm not in a hurry to die. I want to be with my family here as long as I can. But I made Linda promise if my blood pressure drops again, not to revive me. I will not fight death if it comes. I look forward to it now.