Before Death

He stood alone in a brightly lit filled expanse of space. Jerrold could see nothing. Not because of the bright light, but because there was nothing to see. Though the light was immensely bright it did not hurt his eyes. There was no way he could determine whether he was inside or outside. He wondered why he was not panicking. Rather, he now wondered why he felt at peace in his current surrounding. He wondered if he was even surrounded.

Jerrold tried to recall his last memory. It was in the kitchen at his son’s house. He had been preparing his son’s favorite breakfast of back bacon, French toast, hashbrown patties, and freshly brewed Ethiopian Limu coffee. He remembered the sudden debilitating chest pain before collapsing in a heap to the floor. The scene played out in his mind like a silent movie. He saw Lee, his son, standing over him. In the next scene his son had been replaced by a paramedic, then an ambulance ceiling, and finally the lights whipping by overhead in what he could only suspect as him being rushed to an emergency room.

“Am I dead” he asked out loud.

His words in the white void neither echoing nor falling flat.

‘Not yet.”

Jerrold heard the audible response but did not see who had spoken it. In fact, he could not determine from which direction the voice had come from. It was as if the voice had enveloped him. Slowly, he turned in a complete circle searching for whoever had replied to his query. As he completed circling, a man stood before him.

“Are you…” Jerrold did not get the opportunity to finish his question before the man answered.

“I AM.”

“Then I must be dead, and this must be heaven.”

“You are not dead Jerrold, yet, but you are dying.” Jesus’ voice was soft, calm. His eyes were warm, compassionate.

“So, this is the part where you tell me that it’s not my time to die, and that you have work for me to complete on earth.” Jerrold spoke nervously, hurried. When he was through with his rambling questions he waited for an answer. The silence was unlike anything he had ever heard before.

Finally, Jesus spoke.

“Yes Jerrold, I am the Christ. The only door by which mankind may enter heaven. No, you will not be returning to your life, you will soon die for it is appointed unto man once to die, then after that the judgement. There is no going back after death has come.”

“If I’m not dead yet, then why am I here? I don’t understand. Wait, did you say judgement? Is this my judgement?”

Once again there was an uncomfortable silence. Their eyes were fixed on each other. Jesus moved to Jerrold’s left and he gently placed his hand on Jerrold’s back. Jerrold felt the hand touch him. He was not imagining this.

“Walk with me.”

Jerrold could not be sure if this were a command or a request but found himself compelled to walk anyway. Where or why they needed to walk was beyond him. They were still in the white void. Jerrold blinked. They now walked the hall of the hospital just outside the room where doctors were frantically working to save his life. He saw his body convulse once as a result of defibrillation. He heard the beep of the heart monitor. The space between beeps was long, too long he thought. The graph on the machine indicated a shallow beat, faint.

“Why did you bring me here Jesus?”

“All your life has been about living for you and the things that mattered to you. I even heard your cries to me for help. I heard your confession of faith in me. But you sat on the fence with a foot on either side waiting to jump when it served you best. This Jerrold, is your last chance before death to choose sides and do what is necessary.”

The heart monitor no longer registered a beep. The graph had flatlined. A steady monotone sounded filling the now silent operating theatre.

“Now am I dead?”

“In earthly terms and understanding, you have just witnessed your physical demise as medicine knows it but you are not dead, but there is still time Jerrold for you to choose.”

Once more Jerrold’s body heaved as electricity was pumped into his body. There was no response on the monitor.

“What do you mean choose? Didn’t I already choose you years ago? His voice was now frantic.

“Yes, you did. Since then, you chose me when it suited your fancy. What did you give up for me? Your riches? Your family, success? What did it cost you to follow me?”

Another wave of electricity shot through Jerrold’s body. There was now a weak blip on the monitor. Doctors shouted orders to the nurses who moved with expert precision in response.

“Jerrold, you know what you need to do, and there’s not much time left to do it. Choose Jerrold. It’s either me and eternity in heaven or its eternity in hell.”

“I choose you Jesus.”

The doctors and nurses heard Jerrold. The monitor once again rang in its monotone signal. There was no movement on the graph. His dying declaration was now etched into the hearts and minds of those who were present. Upon that statement Jesus escorted Jerrold into eternity with Him.

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