Wednesday, February 24, 2010
Angels of Mine
Families are important. I believe that Families are Eternal. I believe that we loved and cared for our family members long before we were born in this world and I believe that we will continue to love and watch over our family members long after we have left this existence. My Mother in law is a wonderful woman. She is a giver. One of the things she gives a lot is books. When she reads a book that she likes or that touches her in someway she will by up enough copies to give one to each of her children's families. I have been in a reading type of mood the past few days and I have picked up a few of these books and read or reread them. Last night I finished a book called "The Message". It was written by a man named Lance Richardson and it detailed a near death experience he had over the course of a few weeks in January of 1999.
Mr. Richardson had purchased a used snowmobile and dirt-bike for his children for Christmas. It was not the appropriate weather for dirt-bike riding but he and his boys still wanted to prove to themselves that the bike worked. A neighbor came over and got the bike running and Mr. Richardson took it down the driveway, turned around in the street and started back up the drive at about 5 mph. That is when everything went wrong, the bike started to slide to one side and so Mr. Richardson stuck his leg out the other way to steady himself and the bike, it didn't work. He and the bike both went down, and because of previous medical conditions which left him with somewhat brittle bones, Mr Richardson ended up in the hospital with a badly broken hip. Things got worse from there, surgery fixed his hip, but an unforeseen lung infection coupled with a MRSA Staph infection eventually placed him at deaths door. And then, Someone turned out the lights. As he got out of bed and tried to find the light switch and was taken a bit by surprise, because he couldn't walk, he had just had hip surgery and could barely breath on his own. Then instead of feeling the wall, he felt something softer, as he touched this soft curtain, it began to part and where he had been standing/walking in complete darkness, suddenly on the other side of that curtain was radiant light.
As he stepped through into the light he found himself in a beautiful meadow, or garden. He walked for a short while noticing groups of people here and there and then he felt as if someone was approaching him from behind. He turned to find members of his family who had passed away, a Cousin and Grandparents, Aunts and Uncles. His story goes on to talk about how it was explained to him that he was in the Spirit World or Paradise and that he was allowed to come so that he could learn and or remember what he needed to know in order for him to be able fulfill his life's mission and keep a promise which he had made to God long, long before. He was not dead, rather he was in a coma, he was not sure just how long he was in that spirit world but he did travel back and forth from there to his body several times over the weeks that he was in a coma.
There were two things about his experience that really touched me. His family members explained to him that they were very busy, both doing the necessary work within their world as well as acting as Angels in our world. Family and Love continued to exist and his family members explained to him how they had been there to comfort and guide their loved ones on earth.
I have had several experiences where I have felt the presence of my Grandmother, Mildred Gullegde Dowdle. She passed away in the fall of 1994, but I know that she was standing right behind me at my wedding in April 2005, I also know that my mother, her oldest child, felt her presence there that day too.
My Sister Abby was in Portugal when she was 21 years old. She told me about a dream she was given, she had not had the best day and I think she didn't feel very safe, very well cared for, and so as she said her prayers before going to sleep she told God all about it. That night she dreamt of her day, clearly she saw herself and her fellow missionary leave their apartment only they were not alone. They were flanked by two men, our Grandfather Turner who had died when Abby was just 5 or 6, and our Great Grandfather Olsen who passed away long before we were born. In her dream she saw each one of the situations from the previous day that had caused her to feel uneasy and during each of those episodes she saw how those two loving Grandfathers placed themselves between the two young missionaries and whatever harm might have been. Were they there with her everyday? I don't know, but I believe they were there when they were needed, when God needed Angels to watch over Abby, those men were there.
Little J has taught me a lot about Angels, I am pretty sure they surrounded him constantly during his first year of life. (I am not so sure they like hanging out with kids in the prime of the Terrible Two's but I am sure if he is in need of Angels, they will be there for him.) I have two prominent "Angel" experiences with J, the first came as an answer to a prayer. Little J was having a hard time sleeping, he was sick and I was very very tired and it was the middle of the night. I had done all I could think of to comfort my poor baby and I was at the point that I felt it would be best to put him in is crib and let him cry. And so I did, but then I sat on the couch and listened to him cry, which is not a good thing for tenderhearted mommies to do. I knelt down and prayed for my boy, I remember praying for Angles to come and give him the comfort that I was unable to provide. After my prayer I continued to sit on the couch. Within a few minutes he had stopped crying and only a few moments later he was giggling. "No" I thought, "Stupid Angels, you were supposed to help him get to sleep, not make him laugh." The next morning I felt bad for calling the Angels "Stupid", I think the Angels forgave me, I think they had fun with my baby that night and in the end, they were on God's errand, not mine.
The next Angel experience I had with J was as the Anesthesiologist took him into surgery. A lot of times they will medicate the children prior to surgery, so as not to cause extra anxiety when they take the child away from their parents. (I think there are quite a few parents who would like to be medicated themselves at that point.) In J's case they decided that he was a happy and friendly enough child that he would most likely go with a stranger willingly (a little scary, I know) and so he wasn't medicated, the Anesthesiologist came to his bedside in the pre-surgical area and introduced himself to the little 10 1/2 month old J. After explaining to us what was about to happen he picked J up and walked away from us, taking our baby down a long hallway and out of site. Little J didn't cry, in fact he laughed and looked around, looking upward. It was an hour or so later that I was given the impression that he was not just looking around, but rather he was looking at his Angel friends, maybe even the same ones who had comforted him and made him laugh a few months before. I felt a little better while I waited for the surgery to end, knowing that Angels were with my baby. I believe in Angels, and though I have never had an experience such as Mr. Richardson's, I believe the Angels who have touched my life and the lives of my family have been just as he described, our dearly departed Family.
Mr. Richardson also spoke about the Veil. In his first experience he thought that he had touched a curtain, this was the Veil that divides the world of the Living from the Spirit World or Paradise. While he was acclimating to the new environment of the Spirit World he was able to see the Veil from that side. He spoke about how groups of people were gathered at different points along the long Veil, sometimes waiting for people who came through on their own and at other times one of the people waiting would part the Veil, reaching through to help the newcomer find their way. This made me cry. My Uncle Bob died a few years ago, he was very sick and my Mom and her brother Ron were driving as quickly as they could from Utah to Washington to see their brother one last time. They didn't make it. He passed away a few hours before they arrived, but my Aunt told them about something that happened immediately before he passed away. My Uncle moved his oxygen mask looked upward and said something like this "Oh, all the people" I am not sure if he made mention of his mother, my Grandma Dowdle, but I, as well as other members of my family, believe that he saw his Mother that day, that she had come for him, to help ease his transition. Maybe like Mr. Richardson had seen, the Veil was parted just enough that my Uncle saw not only my Grandmother, or whoever was sent to help him that day, but also all the other family members and loved ones who had gathered there at the Veil to greet him upon his arrival. Oh, All the People! There are a lot of people in our family, a lot of love has passed from generation to generation, it makes me happy, gives me lots of hope, that someday those generations might gather to welcome me. It makes me a little less scared.
Feel free to read the book, there is so much more there than what I have shared, including The Message itself, the one that he was tasked with sharing with the world. I was touched by his story, and I was amazed to see confirmation of those bits and pieces of it in my life. I believe in God, I believe we are his children, that he loves us all dearly, that he has a plan for us. I believe this life is just a part of that plan, not the beginning or the end, just a part, an opportunity for us to learn and live. I believe that Families are a big part of his plan and I am grateful to know that families and love are eternal. I don't know if Angels can read blogs, but if they can, (who knows they might be reading over our shoulders right now) I want to thank my Angels for taking such good care of me and my family, I am grateful for the lives you lived, because you gave me a heritage of faith and I am thankful for the service and love that you still provide.