I was reminded this week of how thankful I am to live in the Bible Belt. When I tell people of Jackson’s visit to heaven, no one laughs at me, ridicules me, or mocks me. The typical response I receive when telling people about Jackson’s trip to heaven is complete and absolute acceptance. People are excited to hear his story. Almost every single time the listener will comment, “I believe it beyond a shadow of a doubt.”
I am sure at some point that may not be the case. I am prepared for someone to say that it was simply a dream. Possibly a hallucination. There is no way he went to heaven and came back again. And that is perfectly okay. It isn’t my job to force people to believe or to convince them that it is true. It is my task to simply be the voice of our story and share it with others.
I remember saying to everyone who would listen shortly after the accident that Jackson had an experience in heaven. How did I know? Simple. You could feel it everytime you walked into his room in the NICU at the hospital. The minute you were in his presence, a feeling of peace and calm would wash over you. There were times I would just sit in his room to find the quite and stillness that my soul longed for.
It would be almost 3 months before he would casually mention it for the first time during one of our daily walks from the hospital cafeteria at Scottish Rite. To him, it wasn’t a big deal. He is only 7 years old, and simply doesn’t understand how rare his experience was. I chose early on to never ask him about it. I only listened. It would be another 6 months before he would ever mention it again. I thankfully had the presence of mind to record that conversation. I wanted to be able to show anyone who ever doubted that this was coming from him and him alone. I didn’t put ideas in his head or lead him to answers.
The most recent and final conversation was during the week of the 1 year anniversary of the accident. He explained the process of dying as being instantaneous. You simply close your eyes and wake up in heaven. He shared with me that Jesus gave him the power to walk on the clouds because he didn’t have wings like everyone else. He told me about seeing the gates made of gold (I later showed him pictures of heavens gates and he picked out the one made of pearls. I assume he didn’t know that pearls would shine too). He told me that everyone there was middle aged. There was no pain, no fear, or sadness in heaven. He explained that since his name wasn’t written in the Book of Life, he had to come back to earth. But that was okay because he didn’t want to leave his family. He excitedly told me that the last time he remembers walking is walking in heaven with Jesus.
The things he has shared with me are biblical. You could say he got the idea of clouds and Jesus from church. He only attended church a couple of times prior to the accident, and I assure you they didn’t talk about the Book of Life, or what age people would be in heaven. He simply knows too much that is verified by the the Word to be a coincidence, a dream or a hallucination.
To this day, people ask me how he handles being paralyzed. They are amazed when I tell them that he is the happiest kid I have ever known. His smile brightens up any room. His laughter is like a balm to your soul. I believe with everything that is in me it is because he was in the presence of Jesus and he brought some of heaven back with him.
I share Jacksons story because if anyone has ever doubted if there is a God or if heaven exists, you don’t have to anymore. Heaven is real and most importantly, God is real. If you have lost someone you love, one day you WILL see them again. You are never alone. God is ready to engulf you with His grace and mercy. He wants to wrap you up in His loving embrace. All you have to do is let Him in.
I ask all of my readers to share this with your family and friends. Maybe you already believe, but perhaps someone close to you is struggling to and this may be the final thing they need to accept Jesus into their heart. Let’s get the word out there! Yes, heaven is real!
Love & blessings,