There I stood on the shore of a large body of water. It was larger than a river, but smaller than a lake. I had lost all sense of time, but I know that I stood there for some time. The sky was dark and the air was heavy with a misty fog, however visibility wasn’t impaired. I clearly see across the water. The mist lifted about halfway across.

I could hear a murmuring behind me. I couldn’t discern any particular words, but it seemed there were many voices. It might have been singing, or words spoken in unison, but whatever it was there was a wonderfully beautiful sound.

My right arm was extended backward to my right and was being held by an unrecognizable force. As hard as I tried to pull away, I simply couldn’t free myself.

On the other side of the body of water, a large crowd had gathered. They were dressed in light colored clothes and it was easy to see that a great celebration was underway. When I focused on them instead of the murmuring behind me, I could hear songs of great joy. Some were waving and signaling for me to join them. I wanted to leave the dismal place where I stood and cross the body of water with all my being, but try as I would, I could not pull away from the force that held me.

After some seemingly long period, I opened my eyes. The vision disappeared. I was in the coronary care unit, my wife was on the left side, and my brother held my right hand. He said something like, “You know that I’m not much of a prayer warrior, but I know that you are going to be all right and I’m going home.” He left.

A couple of days before, I had suffered a massive heart attack. After stabilizing me, I underwent bypass surgery to bypass the bypasses I had had ten years prior. I survived the surgery, but had a very bad night and early the morning after surgery, I started a downhill spiral. My wife was called in and my brother who had come from Atlanta for my surgery joined her.

In talking to my sweet Beverly, I found that as she was on the way into the hospital a call went out from our church and a large number of people had gathered to pray for me.

Many people will explain my experience in many ways, but I know what my experience was and my interpretation is this.

The body of water represented the abyss that separates earth from heaven. The darkness contrasting with light represents the contrast between heaven and earth. The celebration and joy on the other side like the darkness and light speak to the contrast between heaven and earth. The murmuring crowd was the voices of the people who were praying for me, and the force that kept me from going was their intercession concentrated in my dear brother’s hand.
From that point on, I made a dramatic recovery and was soon going at full force.

My Mother had come from Atlanta to be with us for surgery and stayed with us for several weeks. My car blew its starter a week prior to surgery and on the third week after surgery I decided to replace it. I jacked the car up, crawled under it, removed the old starter, and before putting in the new one, went in the house for a break. Mother asked what I was doing and I told her, “Replacing my starter”. She told me that if I went back under the car she would call the sheriff. I did, she didn’t.

Make of this what you will, but I hope you find some encouragement in it.

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Jack deJarnette

Jack deJarnette

I am a United Methodist Minister who in June 2008, was placed on incapacity leave due to kidney failure.  My kidneys failed due to immusuppression medications secondary to a heart transplant in 1997. The ministry is my second career having spent 12 previous years at Grady Memorial Hospital in Atlanta as Chief Respiratory Therapist and Technical Director of Life Support Systems at Emory University School of Medicine. I  have a wonderful wife of 45 years, two super children, and four grandchildren. My life has been exciting, challenging, and full of wonder as in my early years I was concerned with saving lives and in my later years saving souls I was graduated  from Georgia Military Academy in 1961 (Woodward Academy). I attended Emory-at-Oxford College, The University of Georgia, Georgia State University, and Emory University for postgraduate work. I received my ministry credentials through the United Methodist Church Course of Study at Emory's candler School of Theology. My Theology is primarily Wesleyan and varies with the particular topic under discussion. I refuse to be labeled either liberal or conservative. My politics are moderate embracing what I hope is the best of all parties. I have a deep love for Christ, the Church, and the United States of America. Bev (my wife) and I are deeply thankful to God for the blessings that have been showered on us throughout our lives.