I was having a conversation with Jesus. I knew that this strong, gentle being standing before me was Jesus because the power of our connection, of being one, was so pure, sure, and true. I looked, really looked into his warm brown eyes and knew; I unequivocally knew I was at heaven’s gate.
An all-encompassing pull to walk through the wooden garden gate nestled in the roughhewn stone wall over-powered me. A push of urgency kept me straining forward because I heard children laughing, running, playing against a back drop of trickling water. I desperately needed to experience what was going on past the gate. I wanted in!
So how did I get to heaven’s gate?
I was beaten down by life, recovering from a 25 year marriage that had died, my precious big brother and father had passed within five years of each other, and in the same time frame, I was diagnosed with hepatitis C, then lupus. Three years after divorce, Tim, my newly wedded husband and childhood friend, had returned into my life at my dad’s funeral. We reconnected, courted, and married. Then, another health grenade landed in my already beaten down body, breast cancer.
It was during the routine cancer surgery in October 2005, that my physical body decided enough is enough! Apparently, post surgery, my blood pressure plummeted because I was bleeding internally. I was rushed back into the operating theater. As I was whisked down the hallway, Tim says that I told my doctor, “I saw Jesus and I want to go back!” She, Dr. Lauren Barron, then brusquely retorted, “no one is seeing Jesus on my watch!”
I have no recollection of this scenario, but I do remember lying in the hospital bed crushed by excrutiating pain. I remember being so very, very tired and Tim crying and pleading with me. I heard his voice from a distance, but simultaneously was being pulled by an overpowering attraction to lightness, a blissful peace in the opposite direction.
As Tim’s voice fades, sounds of children’s laughter and chatter increase. I smell whiffs of gardenia, rose, honeysuckle, and pine. I open my eyes and am leaning on a garden gate peering over its stone wall. I see, hear, and smell flowers blooming, soft light dancing, leaves unfurling, grasses swaying, and bursts of color undulating in the aromatic breeze on a rolling meadow floor. Everywhere I turn is color. Fragrances sweet and spicy tickle my nose. I am as light as an airborne feather, every burden, every weight gone.
My heart’s desire is to breathe deeply, inhale, open my eyes, open my heart, and take it all in. It is the easiest thing I have ever done and I let myself go. I let myself come undone in this brilliance.
At the precise moment of perfection, I hear His voice and sense His touch. Jesus tells me I still have work to do and I can’t stay in this heavenly garden. My grandchildren need me. I have to go back. The all-consuming desire to stay and rest in the wonder of this garden pulls on me. Nevertheless, I accept and acquiesce. My time is not yet. Tim’s voice is calling me back.
I open my eyes to his sweet face awash with tears. I can’t quite see him completely, because he is waving a picture of my oldest grandchild right in my face. He implores me, begs me to return to him and I hear myself say, “No, I don’t want to. I want to go back!”
Yes, I get it; of course I have to come back to the present. I need to wake up, even though it is so hard after tasting, seeing, feeling, and breathing in even just a glimpse of heaven. I close my eyes in deep sleep. I doubt I will return to the meadow of my heaven, but I am hopeful there might be more color, or maybe more clarity when I wake up again in this world.
My words don’t give this experience justice. Using words diminishes the hold it has on me. But maybe sharing my resurrection story with you will help you live out your truth.
I now know I can’t wait on my life being free of the hard painful stuff before deciding to be happy! We can choose resurrection each and every day. Join me as we celebrate this Easter season!
Are you ready to choose happiness?
Hymn, Heavenly Sunlight
Walking in sunlight, all of my journey,
over the mountains, through the deep vale;
Jesus has said, “I’ll never forsake thee,”
promise divine that never can fail.
Heavenly sunlight, heavenly sunlight,
flooding my soul with glory divine:
hallelujah, I am rejoicing,
singing His praises, Jesus is mine.