The Evangelical Universalist Forum

Listening to angels

I joined this Forum nearly nine months ago. I have learned a great deal about how to handle all the topics, testimonies and insights of fellow-members contained herein going back over a decade. I hope I have selected the correct Category in which to place this topic!

The title I have chosen for this new topic may suggest I am writing about a NDE (Near Death Experience) or an OBE (Out of Body Experience). Either may apply. I could write about any one of several NDEs I have had over 77 years. More accurately, they were probably more like close-to-death episodes, the most recent being when I drove my Pontiac G6 at 60 mph into the rear of a snow plough on a snowy morning back in January 2011. What I have described in the accompanying essay was definitely an OBE.

NDEs and OBEs have been addressed before in this Forum but, as far as I can tell, not for several years. (I am certain I will be corrected if that statement is incorrect, in which case mea culpa).

Perhaps I should explain that I wrote the essay to be an entry in a “50+ Writing Challenge” sponsored by a local library. Last year, I entered a poem I had written “Dreaming of Future Glory”. It actually won 1st prize.

Listening to Angels

“Daddy”, “DADDY”, “Help!”. The anxious cries of my 11-year-old daughter pierced the cold January air. I didn’t hear them. I couldn’t. I was unconscious.

In August 1975, my wife and I, with four children, immigrated to Ontario from the UK. Since arriving, we had done our best to assimilate to a very different country, particularly the cold winters. I had tried hard to learn to skate but had given up trying. The borrowed skates hurt my freezingly-cold feet. Our children, however, had no problem skating with the friends they had soon made.

My friend Bill had invited us to spend that that particular Saturday afternoon in January 1978 with his family on his acreage, located near the small town in which we had made our home. Bill and his wife had seven children. Their home was a modest cabin, located at the top of a fairly steep hillside. There was a sizable pond at the foot of the hill. The pond was frozen over. The children donned their skates and began to thoroughly enjoy themselves. I sat down on the front steps to Bill’s house and watched enviously. Seeing the kids having so much fun, I asked Bill if I could borrow his skates. He agreed, so I sat down on the house steps and laced them up.

I don’t know why the danger of walking down an icy slope on skates never crossed my mind, but that’s exactly what I did. Understandable? Perhaps. Stupid? Definitely! Not for the last time, I was to learn that stupidity has consequences, on that occasion almost fatal. I took one step onto the icy slope and my feet slid forward underneath me. My daughter told me afterwards that she happened to look up at that very moment to see me flying horizontally through the air. I crashed to the frozen ground, landing on the side of my head close to my left eye.

The area around our temple is weak. Its where our skulls are thinnest. A sharp blow there can be extremely dangerous. If an artery is damaged, the consequences may be deadly. Blood seeps out of the artery. Eventually, the area swells due to pressure from the blood. Our brain is tightly enclosed in our skull. If the swelling is severe, other parts of the brain can be compressed, resulting in death or serious brain injury. Not a pleasant thought, but I wasn’t thinking any such thoughts! I was out cold, literally.

A split-second later, I found myself high above the pond, looking down at the scene below. I could see the pond, the icy hillside, Bill’s cabin, and my own body lying prone on the ground. I watched as the children started to scamper up the hill to where my body lay. Bill rushed out to see what had happened. I observed all this for a while with dispassionate interest, then I became distracted by voices from close to where I was hovering. (I say hovering, because what other word can I use to describe what one’s spirit does outside its body?) It dawned upon me that the voices must be those of angels. I listened more attentively since I assumed that my future was the topic of their animated discussion. What was going to become of me? Had my time come? Were they to take me to heaven? That happens to be one of the responsibilities of angels.

Suddenly, I no longer heard voices. I hadn’t actually understood their conversation, unfamiliar as I was with the language of angels. I now know that they must have concluded that my time had not yet come. The date of our departure from this brief and uncertain earthly life and pilgrimage is already fixed. God alone knows the day and hour That January day in 1978 was not to be the time. Along with my dear wife, I apparently had more to do on this planet. She was to give me five more children, whom we were to raise to be good citizens of the country that had welcomed us.

After the angels had left for more pressing business, my spirit was whisked back to that icy hillside where it was re-joined with my body. I immediately became conscious to the concerned calls for help from my children and of the attention of Bill who had appeared from the house. With my left hand, I gingerly ran my fingers over the large lump that had started to throb above my eye.

Our family doctor checked me out later that day. There was no internal damage. I would survive my fall. There and then I made an irrevocable decision. Never again was I to put skates on. Decades later, the decision has stood firm. I once tried to ski but failed to negotiate even the bunny hill at Lake Louise. Tobogganing, making snowmen, and snowball fights with my children became my primary winter exercises while I waited for golf courses to open in the spring.

Thank you Norm. It’s quite a thought to imagine that angels are constantly watching over us.

Very edifying, thanks Norm.
My wife had an angel encounter one time - maybe in the future I will share that.

Cool Dave. We need a song to celebrate this!