At the age of 15, my stepfather moved our family to a new state far from the friends, life, and boyfriend I loved. I hated our new city, and my parents’ ever-increasing fighting was tearing apart the family. I was an angry isolated teenager with no friends and poor coping skills. My family was Christian, but I remained agnostic because I figured if God existed, he must be either punitive or indifferent to allow so much misery to happen in the world. I wanted nothing to do with him.

I was invited to a bonfire party deep in a large wood and snuck out to go for the weekend. In an incredibly stupid move, I accepted some drugs thinking they would be as strong as the few minor ones I had dabbled with in the past. I was very, very wrong. The drugs kicked in fast, too fast for me to get anywhere safe or to find someone to help me. I began to hallucinate, and because my head at the time was in a terrible place, the hallucinations were awful and frightening. I wanted to get away from them and couldn't. I was becoming desperate to, and the faces of the people around me at the party began morphing into demons and monsters.

I ended up jumping into the large bonfire to escape the hallucinations. The pain was instantaneous and agonizing. I lit up like a candle and burned for the time it took for someone to notice and get close enough to try and pull me out. I don't remember much after that, but apparently the kids decided to hide me so they wouldn't be in trouble with the law (we were trespassing on private land). So they tried to clean me up, and I was left in the dark, away from everyone with only the trees and stars to keep me company.

My body was in rough shape, and I knew I was going to die. I was praying for it actually, and I remember crying over and over in my head like a mantra, "Just let me out, just let me out!" Over and over again. Someone must have heard me, because I did pass out then.

I found myself being pulled up into a dark tunnel that was pitch black. I was pulled for some time, and at last I landed on this dark plain. It was a rocky treeless expanse, covered in grey mist that swirled around me. I could look up and see stars overhead, and they weren't the ones I was used to seeing on earth. The light was dim and everything was quiet except for the wind moving the mists around me. So peaceful and yet it looked like a scene from a scary horror movie.

A huge ancient-looking stone wall was off to my right, towering above me and the mists. It was a panel of a massive city wall. The city must be sleeping, because all was still. Except for the sound of music, which floated down to me from over the wall, and it was like nothing I had ever heard before. So, so beautiful, it made my heart hurt, and I wanted very, very badly to go find its source. It still makes me hum happily inside when I think of it now. I can't wait to hear it again. It was love and hope in the form of music, which I didn't know was possible.

I realized then that I had no body, but I felt whole and well. No more drugged hallucinations, which was a huge relief. I could still feel pain however, and it puzzled me until I realized I had a tether, invisible, attached to me and leading off to the left and disappearing back towards Earth. Earth was far away, so far humans could never reach there or back. I don't know how I knew this, but I just did. I could feel my human body back on Earth, but faintly. It was still in pain and dying, the heart was beating, but the pauses had become so long in-between that I knew I was almost done, and I was glad. I wanted nothing to do with that broken flesh at all. It was foreign to me now, and I hated it.

The guide came to me then. This beautiful glowing star that I couldn't tell if it was male or female, but it just radiated a calm intelligence. That was the instant when I knew, just KNEW, that God was real. There was no more denying it. And it pissed me off royally. If God was real, then he was the architect of all the suffering of people on earth, of all my pain and struggle up until then. I became instantly angry, and anger there is a powerful thing, a destructive thing. I could feel myself swelling with it, becoming bigger, stronger. I wanted to knock this being into another cosmos and felt like I was capable of it. Scares me to think of that now. Too much unchecked power. Too much.

The guide didn't react to my anger at all, only stood in front of me radiating that calm acceptance and love. It only made me more angry. A chess board appeared at my, well, where my feet would have been, but I think I willed that board into existence, but maybe the guide did; I'm not completely sure.  Anything is possible there, and time doesn't even have a hold in that place. I pointed at it, trying to reign in my temper (as my mother had tried to teach me to) and demanded like the angry teen I was, "Why!? "Is this some sort of game?" "A joke?" 

The guide spoke to me then, in my head. I realized I hadn't been speaking out loud. There is no need to speak at all, communication is instant and clear, no matter how far the distance. The guide said, "You choose to live your life on Earth and you choose your suffering." That brought me up short, shocked me into stillness. No longer furious, I said, incredulously, "Only an idiot would choose this." Ha. After that we had a much-needed talk. The guide’s presence seemed to calm me, leached all my anger away with every question answered.

I couldn't feel my body anymore, so I assumed I was dead, but I realized as we talked the guide was paying attention to it, to my tether, and they seemed concerned for it. So I guess I was still somehow alive, maybe. The guide told me as we hung out outside the sleeping city, that we are eternal beings that are made of energy and love bound together. Because we do not suffer, personal growth, so to speak, is more difficult to obtain, so Earth was one solution. We can choose to live a human life, and are allowed to live as many as we want, all in an effort to learn and grow. We never lose the people we love in our lives, because we will see them when we return home. I was told that facing the struggle of living through love was our ultimate test. That race, religion, politics, money, nationality, none of that mattered in the face of love.

The guide was becoming more concerned? agitated? and I sensed they were really paying attention to my annoying tether. They showed me images of my past, but quickly, only stopping on things they thought mattered, and then went on to explain that I could stay (YES!!) but that I should return and finish my duty. They didn't explain what that was, but I instinctively knew what it was, although when I came back to Earth I couldn't remember it anymore. We are supposed to figure that out for ourselves down here apparently. The guide told me when I protested that "There are children that need to be born." Which I scoffed at because at 15 I had no desire to have kids and told them so. (I have kids now, Ha!) They also reminded me of my boyfriend and my love for him. I did love my boyfriend and eventually married him and had children with him. Yet there even my love for him didn't make me want to return. We feel differently there. We are something more and not at all human, so things like feelings and life back on earth don't hold the same sway there. Plus, I now knew I would see him and my family again, and also knew they would be ok without me.

So the guide had to convince me more: more "duty" and "work to do" came up. God bless their patience! I really owe them a huge apology and thanks when I next see them. The adult I am now just cringes at my bad behavior then. Thank god there is no hell because I'm pretty sure if there was, I would have been going there for almost punching an angel. Oh, I actually joked with the guide about that, asked if I would be getting wings and a sword any time soon? The guide told me, "You won't be receiving wings and a sword because here you are wings and a sword." Well, that shut me up.

The guide finally convinced me, but I wasn't happy about returning to a damaged body. I think the guide knew this, and as I was pulled away from them and back into the black tunnel, I could feel them doing something to my body through the tether. I think they healed me as much as they were allowed so I could survive long enough to get to help. Actually, I know they did, because after I made it to a hospital, I healed much much better than I should have or had any right to. Today no one can tell I was in a fire unless they look closely, for which I am eternally grateful.

When I woke up in my body again, the sun was just starting to come up. I was still alone in the woods, and I could feel all the pain again. My body was mine again, although we never really fit into it again when we come back. The change is permanent. My anger at my life and family were gone. It took some time, but I finally found my way out to hospital, where I remained for many months.

That was over 30 years ago. I never told anyone except my sister, husband, and mother. That was a mistake, which is why I am giving you this account now. We need to tell others; it is part of our duty, as scary as it is. Thank you for reading, and god bless!