These days, I find myself more afraid of the surgeon’s knife than anything I might run into at Bobby Mackey’s or beneath the streets of Edinburgh. I’ve had a few close calls in the past – even died on the table once – I remember it better than what happened this morning. It was surprisingly fascinating, and as I slipped away, I understood what was happening. I knew, almost instantly that I was on my way out, and I needed to embrace it quickly.
Of course, I came back, and some months later found myself trying to deal with a very severely detached retina. Those results were less spectacular, and since then, I’ve faced an increasingly darker world come in and out of focus at will. Sometimes, lately, things have seemed so dim that I began closing my eyes completely – practicing; preparing for the worst; hoping to discover something I will be able to do on my own should the almost unthinkable actually come to pass.
But as has been the case so often, for me there is a second chance – cornea transplants. Details aside, there are risks in my case. But it’s exciting! The odds are good, even though they also include the possibility of failure. Failure will mean that I lose what little vision I have now, and my constant dusk will slowly turn to night, as I eventually lose all sight.
I don’t mention this for sympathy. Sympathy, I don’t need. And I don’t need words of encouragement or wisdom or “stiff-upper-lip” stuff. But I am afraid. It overtakes me at least once a day. Only for a few seconds, usually, but long enough to understand the enormity of the predicament I face, and long enough to tell myself that fear is a needless emotion.
I know myself pretty well, and I won’t be bitter or feel cheated. I’ll understand how these things go, and I’ll be able to face the results no matter what they are. I will be thankful too, because I know it won’t matter in the scheme of things, and will lead me to get on with the goodness of living and not dwell on the bad. I will be strong, so I will prevail.
The paranormal has been responsible for this thinking in many ways. It has given me a perspective on life that I never would have realized on my own. I’m so totally certain that there is a rich afterlife, that upon occasion, I actually begin to glimpse the meaning of this life. Or so I think. But it certainly doesn’t include self-absorption and pity. I’ve heard from so many distant voices that my mind has been opened; my heart as well. My faith has grown stronger, and while I don’t believe it’s my place to preach on such matters, I am compelled to say that God has been good, and I am grateful for the lessons provided through this paranormal.
I believe there are examples in life that speak to the next life – ways we can determine what is in store for us, if we only take the time to look. There are no real mysteries, just undiscovered treasures – bounty for the taking, buried in the beauty that surrounds us in this glorious place. Truths we can only find within our souls. There is nothing hidden, but I think it demands a certain kind of diligence on our part. We’re meant to seek and search as far as our lives will allow us, and with whatever resources we’re given. There’s nothing new under the sun, but the whole of existence is worthy of rediscovery – daily, and we should experience it through the prism of our own vision and thoughts.
I am often reminded of an EVP I once recorded. When asked if he came to visit often, the voice responded “now and then.” On the surface, it is a logical answer to an honest question, but I have come to see it slightly differently. Even though I do not seek wisdom from my invisible friends, they occasionally give me pause. Perhaps because of the nature of their existence, I tend to listen more carefully.
Life in general is a now and then proposition – nothing is always, or never. We love now and then, cry now and then, feel powerful now and then, and now and then, we face our mortality. It’s natural to be fearful of things like the surgeon’s knife; of that nasty anesthesia. Or of anything that threatens us – especially if it threatens us with the unknown.
But the afterlife is different – more mysterious than unknown; unfamiliar, perhaps. It seems to beckon us in a strange and indefinable way. The paranormal doesn’t threaten us with the slip of a knife or the inability to awake from anesthesia. It doesn’t cause infection or give us life-altering diseases. The paranormal doesn’t decimate the population with war or genocide; beat our children, or cause our crops to fail. Instead, it previews the hereafter, introduces us to our inevitability and promises forever. And if we can avoid that “run dude run” moment and stop to learn from the experience instead, it has the potential to enrich us in ways not available elsewhere.
The worst that can happen to me is that I will not awaken here, but somewhere else instead. But I’m okay with that, because I know my fear is not of where, but only of when. I may not be ready just now, but who is? Those of us who have chosen to look into the unfamiliar should not waste the opportunity. We’re afforded the experience so we can learn from it. These glimpses do not come from our ambition or intelligence, or any machinations we create – all of it has always just been there to find. What we call the paranormal is a classroom – an advanced course in the complex curriculum of living. A pass/fail course we’re not required to take, but one that gives us an edge. So, be grateful brethren – the truth is right before you, and you will find it – “now and then.”