Written by Linda Johnston
"It's Not Your Time" - Linda's Near Death Experience
Used with permission.
Until I was thirty-eight years old, I had no clear explanation for these mysteries. But, on September 27, 1992, my world shattered. On the bridge between life and death, I had a conversation with my guardian angel. It started with a seemingly inconsequential slip of the hand. Out in our garage-turned-art-studio, cutting a cardboard stencil for my husband's hunting gear, I slashed my left wrist, a deep gash almost four inched long. Pressing back the gushing blood, I yelled for my husband and headed for the kitchen. He found me there, hunched over the sink. "Herb, hurry, get me a towel. I have cut myself with that new roller-blade knife. It is going to need stitches."
Herb and the girls, sixteen and ten, gathered round. Herb called the emergency room at Methodist Hospital in Jackson, telling them to expect us in about twenty-five minutes. The girls begged to ride along. I think they were afraid of that might happen if they let there wounded mother out of their sight. "No, no," I insisted. "It needs to be sewn up. But I have not cut an artery. It is not serious. We will be home in a couple of hours. You need to stay here and finish your homework."
I climbed into the front of our Toyota pickup that doubled as a camper. What you might call a nervous driver, I was always willing to let Herb drive. But tonight there was no question. I continued to press against my wrist and brace myself against the throbbing pain. I hated pain. I didn't dwell on the prospects, but in the past when I have seen or thought about the possibility of dying, I had breathed one prayer: "God please don't let it hurt."
We were more than halfway to the hospital and were just crossing the overpass on Highway 18 when I felt a strange jolt. Herb cried out,"Hold on, Babe. We've been hit'" I prayed my short prayer: "Dear God. Please don't let it hurt." I heard something like a shotgun blowing out the glass windows. I heard the breath rush from my lungs and then...
I felt myself rising - as if I were standing in a Ferris wheel - far above the pavement, and going so fast I could feel the wind rushing by my face. Up. Up. Up. When I stopped, I sensed but couldn't see a floor and walls, as if I were in a very large room..Dark and peaceful, warm and soft, yet not a frightening enclosure. Though I didn't know where I was, I knew what had happened. Our truck had been hit hard from behind. Where am I? What's going on? Oh, this is really weird. I can see colors and light and dark. I can smell flowers. I can hear music, yes, choir music. I can think. I can talk, but I am not talking. I am warm. I'm not afraid. But I don't know where I am.
I turned my head. To the left I saw only a dark blue hue that turned to black. To my right the blue was lighter, a cobalt blue so bright you'd think it would hurt your eyes, but its beauty captured my amazement. For a second I turned back to the left, into the utter darkness. And then to the brighter right, where a shimmering angel floated down from above. I felt dwarfed in her presence. She could have cradled me in the crook of her arm as a mother holds a baby. Despite her size, her demeanor radiated a peace that, as the Bible says, passes beyond human understanding. Her hair was pulled back and covered by a blue shaw that fell down over her folded arms. Her long white gown blew as if there were a wind, though I felt none. Maybe it was the artist in me that started to analyze things, like the movement of her robe. That's not a left-and right-or front-and back-wind. It's blowing from inside, going our in every direction.
The light that broke into the darkness was above and it came from the angel herself. It was like hundreds of small lights all coming from one spot but each with its own wavelength; it included rays of flourescent blue and yellow. Where is the light coming from? It's her heart, I soon figured. It's as if the light breaths along with her. Finally she spoke. "You know me." she stated. The voice was calm, distinct, familiar. I looked her up and down, "Yes," I said softly.
Though I'd never seen her before, I knew the voice, the feminine voice that had called my name as a child, fishing at my grandparents, swinging in my own back yard. I knew she'd grabbed my shirt collar and pulled me out of the street when I was in second grade. She'd been part of the choir singing in my Springfield living room. And she'd been silent at my side thousands of nondescript days.
I heard her voice, but she also spoke with her hands, in a universal sign language I immediately understood. "Do you want to go for a brief minute?" Go where? My silent question was answered with her hands. She pointed up, wanting me to look to my left at a point at two o'clock on a clock face. There a doorway cut through the dark, and bright light beamed down. Beyond the door an unseen choir sang and sweet fragrances wafted down, a subtle cross between the scent of a magnolia blossom and a gardenia.
The angel then pointed downward. My eyes followed her fingers and the line of a spotlight shone down into the Mississippi night. At the end of the light was my mangled body laying in a pool of blood. Below my short, my right leg was unnaturally twisted. My sandals were knocked off my feet. I turned back to the angel and saw an overwhelming sorrow in her face. I felt the urge to reach up and with a tear from her cheek. When she saw my compassion , she said, "It's not your time, but do you want to come with me? I know the choice was mine to make. "No," I quickly answered. "I want to stay with my husband and children." "That's okay. It's not your time," she repeated. "You still have work to do."
With that, from the far end of a cave, I heard another familiar voice calling my name, louder and louder. "Linda. Linda. It's me, Herbie." I was back inside my body, sprawled face-down in the roadside gravel. My arms were spread our. My butt was sticking up in the air. My right leg was turned all the way around. And I felt the pain of external wounds; first, second, and third degree road burns from the waist down to the bottom of my feet, from my body sliding on the road and in the rocks.
Through pained by a broken rib and compressed vertebrae, Herbie walked away from the accident. I didn't. Over the nest few days in the critical care unit I heard details of my internal injuries; a crushed hip; my pelvis shattered like eggshells; multiple leg breaks - seven breaks above my right knee - and compressed vertebrae. And then Herbie stood over my bed, relaying the grim prognosis. "Babe," he said, "you need a lot of surgeries. A lot of repair. But...the doctors don't think you'll ever walk again."