Sunday, October 10, 2010

Facing Mortality

A couple years ago, while I lay in a hospital bed, near death from a string of blood clots that passed through my heart and into my lungs, this is the song that came to me when I thought to write about what I was feeling. It's one of my favorites ...

Somewhere over the rainbow
Way up high
There’s a dream that you dream of
Once in a lullaby

Somewhere over the rainbow
Bluebirds fly
And the dreams that you dream of
Do, really do come true

Somewhere Over the Rainbow by E.Y. Harburg

After I typed those words on my laptop, my all-time favorite song came to me ...

I believe in Christ;
He stands supreme!
From him I’ll gain my fondest dream;
And while I strive through grief and pain
His voice is heard: “ye shall obtain.”

I believe in Christ
So come what may,
With him I’ll stand in that great day
When on the earth he comes again
To rule among the sons of men.

I Believe in Christ by Elder Bruce R. McConkie

I believe in Christ! He is not some mystic being that exists to rule over me … but a loving brother, who personally knows me, and loves me.

My mortality
What a journey it is

A kaleidoscope of beauty and love
Mingled with a myriad of trials
All carefully orchestrated for my incredulous growth

My heart is filled with gratitude for my life experiences,
More particularly the ones that have caused me
To reflect on the purpose of life
And the tender mercies of the Lord

As I passed through that new trial, I reflected on some of those experiences …

Near Death, A Choice of Life
Age: 19
Location: BYU Provo, Utah
Date: 1977

I was in the winter semester at BYU, after transferring from USC following the fall semester there, and had for many reasons concluded that life was everlastingly too hard. I was deeply saddened by the events in the world around me, and by the choices of friends, and loved ones. As a freshman 3,000 miles from home, who hadn’t been home for 5 months, I was terribly homesick, too.

Along with that, I was also depressed due to feeling so alone at BYU. I had joined the church at USC, transferred to BYU, and knew very few people. Because I worked the night-shift full-time, I didn’t get to socialize at all. The two students Martha, and Mary, who transferred from USC to BYU with me, had become great friends with each other, and I felt more like a bother to them, not a friend. Martha had a car, and a bank account her father kept up for her, and Martha really liked Mary, and took her everywhere. They never asked me to go with them. I didn’t have a car, and from January to April walked two to three miles each winter night to work, and then walked home in the morning. I barely made enough money to pay for my rent at the Riviera Apartments, and for my own food. I had classes at 10:00 in the morning and sometimes concerts in the early evening (I played in the BYU Symphony Orchestra). I remember a couple of times not going to bed at all, but going from work to school to concert to work …

I guess I had had enough, and one evening deep in thought, I unwittingly willed myself to go home. It wasn’t anything I was attempting to do, it just happened. I lay on my bed at the apartment, and simply asked to come home, back to my Father in heaven, exercising the faith that I had. The faith and the will I had was in conjunction with the spirit. I felt very close to the Lord. I felt a swirling sensation that started from my feet and moved up through my body. I felt like my spirit was leaving my body, and it frightened me, so I stopped it.

I write about it, because it is such a fascinating experience. The faith, the answer, the reprieve … the story of my mortal life continues as such, always being saved from myself.

Unexpected Visitors
Batavia Ohio - Sneed’s Residence
Late 1978 or early 1979
Age: 21

I was about three months pregnant with our oldest son, Jason, when I pulled a string of muscles in my back lifting a small TV. The doctor told me to stay in bed for two weeks while it healed. We left our small apartment in Batavia, and stayed at Bill’s parent’s home on the other side of town. I tenderly remember the loving way Bill’s mother, Shirley, took care of me. One day she peeled a pink grapefruit, broke it into wedges, and sprinkled it with sugar. She brought it in to me. I had never had pink grapefruit prepared like that before, but more especially had not been pampered since I was a child, years ago, by my own mother.

We stayed in Bill’s brother’s room. It was a small bedroom, but we managed to put a TV in the corner, and our three year old daughter Mandee’s sleeping bag on the floor beside us. There was a window across from the bed, and a dresser against the same wall the headboard was against. The bed was alongside the wall opposite the window. I slept on the outside of the bed for easier access both in and out of bed.

I awoke one night to find two men dressed in white standing by my bed. They were not frightening in the least, in fact, it seemed quite natural and not out of the ordinary at all to see them. The one on the left reached his hand out to me, and said, “It’s time to go.” I began to sit up and reach my hand to his, but looked back at Bill, and said, “No. I want to stay with Bill.” I do not remember anything past that. I must have simply cuddled next to Bill, and gone back to sleep.

Was it a dream? If anything had been out of place in that room, I may have wondered so, but there wasn’t. The room was exactly the way it was when I went to sleep that night. I noted that the TV was in the corner, the dresser to my right, Bill on the other side of me, and Mandee sleeping soundly on the floor. There just happened to be two men, dressed in white, standing there, too.

Was it my time to go? Apparently not, but maybe so. Did I have a choice? Perhaps. Was it the same choice that I had at BYU? I think so. And yet, a greater message is woven into the fibers of this experience … I turned to Bill, and chose him.

1 comment:

  1. Nice blog, Theresa ~ maybe now I'll have time to read it!! Love you!