Sometimes an experience can be so intense and so profound that it changes your entire life. My life-changing experience happened when I was ten years old. My family of five lived in a tri-level home at the end of a court in suburbia. I was a very shy child who was deathly afraid of the dark. Every night when I went to bed, the nightlight had to be on before I even entered the room. My mother would attempt to shut the closet door somewhat, but I would repeatedly cry out, ‘A little bit more, mom, a little bit more.’ I had a very normal, average childhood. We went to church most Sundays. But really, all that I knew spiritually was that Jesus was born on Christmas (when I got all those presents) and he died on Easter. I also knew Noah had a boat with lots of animals and that Adam and Eve were two naked people who loved each other. But I didn’t really know much more then those facts and I wasn’t bright enough to have made up a story like the one that I am going to tell you. My childhood was delightful in many ways. There were a ton of children in my immediate neighborhood. We spent our years playing tag, building imaginary worlds in the sandbox and creating chalk highways where we could ride our bikes for hours.

For my tenth birthday in May, my mother threw a party with all the neighborhood children where we played games and enjoyed my mother’s chocolate cake. But by the end of the evening, something was very wrong with me. I began having trouble breathing and ran an extremely high fever. My mother bathed me down with sponge baths to try to reduce the fever. Her efforts were unsuccessful and I drifted in and out of consciousness. I was then admitted to the hospital. Days went by and the doctors could not find anything wrong with me. They did test after test but nothing showed up. In the meantime, I was unconscious a majority of the time. After a week passed, the hospital told my parents that I could die. My mother then informed the school of my illness. The students made homemade cards for me and because religion was still allowed in the school in those days, my classmates were told to pray for me. During a lucid moment, I said a prayer to God. I told him, ‘I’m too sick. I’m ready to die now.’ And I lost consciousness once again. Then, I had an extremely severe pain in my chest. If it had lasted longer, I would have screamed.

After just a second, it was gone and I felt wonderful. I was surrounded by a golden light and I realized how very easy it was to breathe. After basking in the glow, my room began to fade into view. I will still lying in my bed. But in the upper right corner of the ceiling, a bright light appeared. It was very small, but began to grow larger and larger. As the light got closer, I could see that it was a man walking towards me. Finally, after what seemed a long time, he arrived. He was wearing a brown robe and was floating in the air. He had brown hair, a beard and the most incredible eyes that I had ever seen. He smiled at me and I smiled back. Then he spoke to me, although we didn’t speak with our voices. We spoke with our minds and that seemed absolutely normal. The man said, ‘Are you ready to die?’ Immediately, I said, ‘No, I’m just a little girl. I haven’t lived yet.’ I then looked away for a minute and thought to myself, ‘That’s strange. You said that you were ready to die.’ I looked back at him and he smiled again as if to say that it was alright. He then said the most incredible thing and something that I would never forget. He said, ‘What have you done with your life?’ And then there is a part that I can’t remember. I’ve thought a great deal about this. In my opinion, I think that man showed me some things that I could do for Him if I went back. And then, I think that I was given the choice of whether or not I wanted to go back.