While involved in a divorce, after the first good 19 years, then crumbling 20th year of marriage, and admittedly of my own misguided making, I was building a home for myself, and at the time of my experience was painting the interior woodwork, crown molding, fireplace mantle, window surrounds, etc., with lacquer, which is highly toxic.
During this time, I used heavy pain medication (post multiple back surgeries), plenty of which were self-administered, with my dosage taken as needed to relieve pain as I personally deemed necessary. I really had no limits imposed by my doctor and was given the medication of my choice. In 1996 there were not the regulations to deter the opioids as today, so it’s fair to say I made sure I felt no pain. I did not pursue them recreationally but when one works six days a week over ten hours a day, that is not a credible statement given the high use factor. I had previously refrained from using pain medication, knowing the risks, until the pain had become very challenging.
I was, prior to my experience, a solid Christian, up until I began a regimen of pain medication. Yes, I studied much of Walter Martin’s information and was aware that drugs and alcohol surrender your conscious mind to alternative forces, causing one to become vulnerable to dark influences. I also did unknowingly begin a habit of taking Satan’s name in vain, so to speak. I was always offended when I heard others do such to God and his son Jesus, so I developed my own way of attacking Satan’s name. Certainly, not a good idea, but I was young and not as well-versed as I should have been.
My children attended a Christian School and I considered myself a strong Christian, seeking the word of God often, and instilled these values in my family’s lives. I tried to always put God first and guard my family from any harm which could befall them in an ungodly world.
Entering the event, my marriage was failed and the Church I had attended fell apart due to dark forces attacking the great work God had accomplished through a very devout pastor. In retrospect, I was extremely vulnerable and surprisingly did not receive help from fellow Christians, except one person who, had he persisted, might have turned me from the direction I was headed.
The impact of my Near-Death Experience in the void has taken over twenty years to come to terms with and speak of, even with my daughter who rescued me. At the time I had no knowledge of NDEs in the realm known by others as the void. While it answers so many questions, the terror I experienced was as if it occurred yesterday, when I attempted to re-visit the memories. The fear sensations return and are so impacting, it prevented my even pursuing thinking of it let alone doing any research.
As we all know there are always consequences for our actions, unfortunately perpetrators do not always pay the price for their own misfeasance as is my case. My children were left without guidance and the protection of a God-fearing father, subject to the darkness this world so abundantly possesses. In my falling away, my children have suffered in faith and direction from a fallen-away spiritual leader. God blessed me with four exceedingly wonderful children and I failed myself, and I failed God and my children as a good Christian family leader such as God has directed us to be. They are paying the price for my failure, and that in itself is almost impossible to bear. I face this daily. It took many years to fight my way back to my faith in God. When Satan destroys a person, it can be very thorough.
I was painting extensive woodwork in my new personal residence, apart from my wife of twenty years. There was extensive crown molding, fireplace mantle, and specialized wood trim. I was using a Lacquer product which is highly toxic. My occupation was as Designer/Builder for over twenty years and painting was nothing new to me. My personal work ethic was strong, so working long hours was typical.
As I began priming the wood, I had emptied the first 5-gallon bucket and was still not finished with my first primer coat. I opened the second 5-gallon bucket and began to spray. I had been spraying for about an hour and a half when I opened the second bucket. After another approximately 30 minutes I completed my primer coat. Upon inspection I found the second can had been improperly marked. It was the finish coat of lacquer, not primer.
This was troubling to me, as I would need to sand and re-prep the incorrect trim to re-apply primer. Note: I was wearing a respirator which had up to a half hour carbon cartridge life span, but I was already two hours into the spraying aspect of the work. I consumed more pain medication to allow me to continue working and worked at a very rapid pace, annoyed at the paint company for their mistake costing me much additional work.
After some time, I began to feel very tired. I recall thinking I would just lay down and take a short nap, then resume my work. The air in the house was very toxic, but I didn’t really give it any thought. In my rush to complete work, I did not think to change the filter. I recall laying down on the floor amongst the interior doors. The combination of pain pills and toxic fumes had overtaken me. I should have known better, but was now on my way to an alternate realm.
Then I recall looking upon my body curled up on the floor. Oddly, it was not emotionally impacting and quite unimportant. I didn’t give it a second thought. I seemed a distance above the top of the ceiling, maybe 25 to 30 feet, but given the little importance, it was of no consequence. I sensed drifting, but not based on any action taken by me. My thoughts were crystal clear, with my senses very acute, yet my confusion overwhelmed me. It is logical to assume I was dreaming, but I felt so alive and aware. No, I was not in any form of dream state, although it would have been preferred. One forgets dreams.
From here I was not aware of moving, but entered a dark realm. This brought on more fear and anxiety. I recall the sensation that there were roots approaching me as if I was embedded in earth below ground level. I was completely surrounded. The darkness was so overwhelming I could not see myself or anything else; however, I was so scared I didn’t want to. The fear escalated to terror as I sensed this darkness overwhelming me. Afraid to move, speak, and call for help, I seemed frozen with terror in absolute darkness. I was very aware of my situation, my senses seemed heightened, yet I was confused and not cognoscente of what was happening, nor did I try to analyze it, as I was fully consumed by the present terror within me.
Upon entering a slightly different realm, I found myself remaining in total darkness still, but the sensation of roots coming toward me had been replaced with entities approaching me. At first, they were distant but as they came closer, they seemed to multiply. They approached me, seemingly slowly yet steadily and proceeding directly toward me from all directions. My fear left me frozen and very aware that they seemed to know where I was. I sensed they were beings of human form and was aware of their skin brushing against itself as they approached. The skin seemed thick and harsh, grey in color. I cannot say how I knew, but I had a very graphic awareness of their appearance. They did not wear clothing but it was not relevant given the state of terror I was in.
It must be emphasized that the terror was far greater than I now or then thought possible, yet the experience consumed me with anxiety and unspeakable fear. Time was not relevant; nevertheless, it seemed as though it had been so long, absolute despair was my only conscious thought.
Just as it seemed the entities had reached me, I lost conscious thought and found myself returned to my body, awakening the next morning. I had no recall of how I had ended up in bed at home but the sensation and realization of my experience was so clear and present. Unlike dreams, the memory remains as fresh as when it occurred, with sensations of terror. I chose not to speak of or acknowledge it even to my daughter who had intervened to save me.
My research and present knowledge with my Lord’s guidance has provided clarity to me of how God’s hand protected me. It’s hard to disbelieve in his love, given my abandoning him to pursue less than honorable endeavors.
Now, I realize I had entered a realm known by many as the void. God intervened by informing my daughter I was in need of help. She rushed to my aid and upon discovering me and my circumstances, she proceeded to get help from another person. This was in itself a very improbable event and confirms God’s hand to save me.
In another incident, more recently, I was launching my sport boat and accidently fell into the cold Alaska waters, alone and without my lifejacket. I simply forgot to put it on. I was in a hurry. After about twelve to fifteen minutes of frantic attempts and unable to help myself out of the water, I felt my strength depleted and was unable to cling to the 5/8” buoy line I was hanging onto. Every time I attempted to reposition myself to a place where I might be able to advantage myself, upon releasing the line I would rapidly sink then fight to re-grab the buoy line, but the cold and fatigue left me spent for strength and energy.
I thought I was surely going to drown. There was no one present, and I had just been on my boat and saw nobody within sight in the late afternoon. I recall telling God I did not want to die like this. Then a voice told me to “call for help.” Only once, but definitely a voice. I responded by declaring it was a dumb idea, and stated why, post neck surgery left my voice almost inaudible, the engine was running, and no one could possibly hear me because there was nobody there. One does not argue with their own thought and problem-solving examination, but one does argue with what is perceived as a bad idea from another person, as did I.
There was not a minute left in me and I knew it. I thought of the family I loved but couldn’t hang on any longer. Then Deanna looked over the edge of the dock. I was stunned. Where did she come from? I was just on board my boat and could easily see five minutes in any direction. If a person had stood five feet from me, I would not believe they could have heard me even then.
I know without a doubt, God is very real and always ready to help when we ask. My experiences are not so different than others who have prayed and seen God’s hand do miracles, but for me it ratifies my conviction of staying true to my faith. It was when I wandered, I risked so much. Now I cannot read the word of God enough or see him as anything other than my hope and salvation.