Ebenezer Scrooge was a greedy, hard-hearted character in the Charles Dickens classic A Christmas Carol. After being visited by the Ghost of Christmas Past, Present and Yet to Come, his tight-fisted ways change and he is transformed into the epitome of giving, caring, and the Christmas spirit.
These spirits took Ebenezer on a journey to show him the evil in his ways, and revealed to him the terrible outcome of his life. The precious money that he spent so much time cultivating and saving would be stolen by the same poor and needy people he spent his life scorning. His employee, though poor, enjoys his life despite his pittance of a salary, and his family bitterly mourns the death of his ill son Tiny Tim. Scrooge's death affects no one, and he is shown his lonely, unkempt grave with not a soul to give it care. He begs the spirits for help.
He rises on Christmas morning thrilled at having another chance at life and quickly changes his ways.
Although A Christmas Carol is a fictional novel, the premise is not uncommon. We are a people obsessed with ghosts, angels, and the afterlife. And rightfully so. It is one of the only areas in out lives we cannot properly study.
We hear stories on a regular basis about messages from the dead, clouds that look like angels appearing the same day a loved one dies, and phone calls received from a phone that is not plugged in.
Death is final. We don't get a free pass for another try, a second opportunity to say something to a loved one, or the ability to know what happens after our eyes shut for the last time.
We desperately hope there is something good waiting for us after we die. We want to follow the white light and see our dear departed loved ones lining the halls to the Pearly Gates.
I had emergency surgery at 19 and was rushed to the hospital with very serious internal bleeding and had surgery the same evening. I remember being told to count backwards from 100, and made it to about 98. The next thing I recall is hearing my name being called as if through water or from deep within a cave. I also saw the white light at the end of a tunnel. I remember the voices and the light fading, and the darkness closing around the glow like a television would shut off in the early 70s. The circle just got smaller and smaller then winked out. This happened two or three more times until the voice calling my name won and I opened my eyes. Looking up I saw the doctor and a bright light over my bed in the hospital. He smiled and told me they had a hell of a time waking me up because I had a reaction to the anesthesia. I told my sister I saw the white light and heard the voices from beyond--but they were the doctor and the ceiling light.
That experience was enough to make me jaded about any of the white light stories I had previously heard. I mocked the clairvoyants like James Van Praagh or Sylvia Brown when they said they could "see" the dead around a person, and got messages from them.
And then my grandfather got sick. He was in the hospital for a while and we knew it was only a matter of time. After visiting him one afternoon I was downstairs doing laundry and it got a bit dark--I figured a cloud went over the sun. I dropped a piece of clothing and bent to get it, and when I stood saw tiny red, blue and green lights. I figured it was a head rush from standing too quickly, but them I started to think of my grandfather. He told me not to worry, and things would be fine. He also said to take care of my grandmother. The sun came back out from behind the cloud, I shook off the creepy feeling, and walked upstairs. Two steps from the top the phone rang. It was my mother telling me my grandfather had passed away.
Yup. Could be a coincidence. I sometimes get lightheaded when I stand up too fast--and I see checkerboards and lights too. But something about this made me believe a bit again. Not completely--but I cannot discount the afterlife 100% anymore.
As for angels, that is another story. To believe in angels one has to believe in a Christian God and a heavenly hierarchy. That would also mean the belief of Lucifer, the rebellious angel cast down from heaven into hell. That will have to be another post.
Many believe they have guardian angels, and feel their presence. Many stated they were saved from a car crash because the wheel somehow miraculously turned at the last minute saving them from certain death.
We cannot understand what happens after death. We don't know why some are taken from us so young and without warning. We want desperately to know our loved ones are in a better place, and no longer suffering. We wish for signs and guidance when we are having a hard time, and hope a benign force can help lead us to the correct answers.
My next post will be a continuation of this theme--but a bit darker. Can we also be visited by less friendly and more malicious beings? Next week I'll tell you about the time I watched my bathroom door open by itself, and a few other experiences I've had.
Please tell me any of yours--I'd love to know!