When I was in my early twenties, my dad went to Arkansas to visit his brother. While there, he toured a civil war battle site called Pea Ridge. After he returned home, he told me he had an odd experience.
“When I walked the length of the battle field, I knew exactly what had happened there,” he said. “I knew where the opposing forces had squared off. I understood in detail the strategies and maneuvers of each side. I could see where men had died; I grasped clearly that the North had attacked from the south and the South from the north. I had been there before.”
This was my dad’s first trip to Arkansas since his brother had moved there. “But you have never been to Arkansas before,” I said.
“Right,” he nodded. “I have never been to Arkansas.”
My father was nothing if not a pragmatic man. He simply was not prone to exaggeration (I, on the other hand, am entirely prone to exaggeration. I have no idea where I get it from.). This left me with no choice other than to believe that there was some form of reality in what he told me.
Yesterday I read an article in the most recent Newsweek detailing one neurosurgeon’s near-death experience. Dr. Alexander’s description of his heavenly out-of-body occurrence is similar to other’s I have read; yet, different as well. His account is told in beautifully woven language and compelling specifics.
This is why faith exists. So we can look at something that seems unfathomable and hold out hope regardless. I believe in Dr. Alexander’s experience, not only because of my faith in God, but because the loved ones I have known that have died deserve it. Their spirits deserve to live on and on and on.