There's a rapid crossing the Laos-Thailand border in NE Thailand, a tributary feeding the Mekong. We were playing in the water with some of the locals (girls) when I took a few lazy back-strokes and came upright to find I was at a bend, over 1,000 meters downstream. Nothing but a borrowed pair of shorts on, with heavy jungle bordering the water for about the full distance. Cobras and various vipers were always a danger, and a tiger had been seen there a couple of days before - and I was barefoot, near naked, and nearsighted. I chose the rapid, and made it to a point between, and a little past two of our guys, standing hip-deep in the water. I relaxed too soon and tried to stand. There was no bottom, and there was no fight left in me, so I inhaled deeply to speed the process; my last conscious thought was asking whether I’d blown my only chance at life. I saw with incredible clarity the bloody interior of a Desoto car I’d apparently driven into a large tree, with the legs of someone I loved very dearly hanging down beside me, her upper body driven through the windshield. My body was impaled on the steering column, but I wasn’t a male. We’d been running from something bad we’d done, but it didn’t matter any more. My last question had been answered as I rose above the river, again, seeing the landscape, people, and animals with clarity I’d never imagined. I was certainly not nearsighted. Questions that had troubled me were answered without my asking, (as I’ve been able to compare of late) not unlike breaching a mainframe firewall and going exactly to the troubling information. I knew who Yeshuah bin Joseph was; I knew his elder sister Salome (about 8-years old) was at the manger door when he was born, I knew he wasn’t who the NT depicts him as being, and who he was, along with many other things. I also knew I had a choice, to stay in this marvelous setting - more comforting than anything I’d ever imagined: like coming home a thousand times over - and eventually try again from a comparably challenged setting of my last birth (my maternal family was involved in what’s been documented as “Clay County War”), or go back, cough up the water and work toward a better future. Death is a choice; I chose to live. The last estimates I read was over 8,000,000 classic NDEs have happened in North America alone. No time-element was offered in the estimate.
I’ve always been a fir artist and I sketched the area around my NDE from the height I’d seen it, with the scattered little clearings in the jungle where one or more homes had been built and the largest grouping of homes around where we were playing. I wasn’t about to tell my friends what I’d experienced, but we were camped on a Thai army base and I knew a Buddhist helicopter pilot. Out-of-body experiences are not alien to Buddhists or Hindus. I asked him to take my Polaroid up on his next patrol and take pictures of the area. He did. My drawing looked like I’d sketched it from the pictures. (Why was he so friendly? His wife had twin boys and somehow I got to take care of him while he stayed drunk for nearly two weeks:“friends forever”)
About 15 or so years ago a Doctorate candidate from Columbia University organized a Near Death Experience “support group” locally. The only differences survivors shared were the locations and specific information pertaining to them. We had wannabes with some strange stories, and quite a few curious people came and went. NDE survivors don’t need support, and none of us stayed very long. It got boring very fast. There’s some good books on the subject, and some fantasized trash, “Life After Life” is one of the latter. There’s a cardiologist in the Netherlands who has done the most extensive scientific study on the NDE. Need more?
This is like hooking up with another old friend like Jolee. I recall your name the conservative forum. I'm thinking we have a real battle on our hands if we are going to save the country we love. In my mind, the current president is doing what he can as fast as he can to destroy America as we know her. I can't go to Washington, but I'm afraid we're going to have to get out there on the streets all over the country and let Washington know that we run them, they don't run us. Stay well and hang in there.
The fundamental issue in human ethical behavior is summarized by Jesus in what we have come to call "The Golden Rule." Jesus put it this way:
So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets (Matthew 7:12 TNIV).
It asks us to test our treatment of others by putting ourselves in their place. Treat others the way you would want them to treat you in the same or similar circumstance.
Somebody took that principle and translated it into Ten Commandments of Human Relations. You may have seen this anonymous piece, for it circulates in a variety of settings. In case you have missed it, I am reproducing it here.
Speak to people. There is nothing as nice as a cheerful word of greeting.
Smile at people. It takes 72 muscles to frown, only 14 to smile.
Call people by name. It is music to anyone’s ears to hear the sound of his or her name.
Be friendly and helpful.
Be cordial. Speak and act as if everything you do is genuinely a pleasure. If it isn’t, learn to make it so.
Be genuinely interested in people. You can like almost anyone, if you try.
Be generous with praise, cautious with criticism.
Be considerate of the feelings of others. There are usually three sides to a controversy — yours, the other fellow’s, and the correct one.
Be alert to serve. What counts most in life is what you do for others.
Live with a good sense of humor, a generous dose of patience, and a dash of humility appropriate to being human.
Made in God’s image, all of us have something to be valued!
The great challenge in human experience is not work skills, but people skills. That is, research has shown that the majority of people who fail in their vocation do so because they cannot get along with people.
You might think through the meaning of these ten common-sense ideas for your own workplace and personal activity. But what about the larger setting for your daily life? These principles work everywhere you go, for they are about showing respect to the people you meet in all those places.
Made in God’s image, all of us have something to be valued, affirmed, and acknowledged by others. But let it begin with us to acknowledge it in them. As the cycle of giving and receiving enlarges, the human community comes alive.