Back in the day when I was attending one of the very few progressive churches in Southwest Ohio, I called us the Island of Misfit Toys. We struggled mightily to gather up a congregation large enough to sustain the church. We knew that we were seeking something that others just didn’t get, couldn’t understand. The one time many of us felt “normal” during the week was that hour or so we were gathered together.
Today is the first Sunday of the month which means it’s time for IANDS. My anxiety has been really bad lately so I think about staying home and watching a movie. But, I have to go. Karen lost her daughter suddenly in April and she might be there. I need to see if she wants to join Helping Parents Heal. Besides, maybe I’ll get something out of it. I arrive at 1:25 for the 1:30 meeting. I see one of the regular attendees and we walk in together. There are only four other people in the room when we walk in. By the time we kick off the meeting, there are only 10 of us, an intimate group. We move the excess chairs away from the circle and tighten it up. There’s no agenda for today, no speaker. This could get pretty boring pretty quickly. We start off with a question about last month’s speaker, Nanci Dannison, which quickly leads to a discussion of whether the historical Jesus existed or not, and we are off. Amazingly, we navigate talking about this with no one’s feelings getting hurt even with very, very different perspectives on this and the Bible. Then, we transfer into a conversation about NDErs and re-integrating into society. One person in the group is reading a book by P.M.H. Atwater which lists some of the problems NDErs have coming back into our fucked up world. She reads us a passage from the book and explains to us how this has been her not only since her NDE, but her whole life. She feels too much. She loves too much. She’s too blunt. People pull away from her. The other experiencers nod in understanding. I tell them, the problem is not them, the problem is us. We have shut all this down. We feel separate. We feel alone. We’re scared of people who love too much. We preach self-preservation, self-love. The experiencers counter, but we are all One. To love you is to love me. The other thing about NDEers is they tend to depersonalize love, they love everyone. I’ve never had an NDE, but I can relate to their plight. I recall when I was with my first wife and she complained that I didn’t love her enough, because even though I would do anything for her, I would do anything for anyone (her words). She didn’t feel special because I was too loving to other people. It was a real problem in our marriage.
We have an amazing conversation that takes us to the three o’clock hour. We all agree the world needs to change. I tell the NDers, as far as I am concerned they are ambassadors sent back to be beacons to lead the rest of us Home. And we non-experiencers thank them for their service.
The official meeting is over and we’re wrapping up. Someone mentions a sign she got from her husband who has crossed over and I’m telling her about how I try to communicate with Shayna and I need to trust that I am communicating with Shayna. Just then, one of the women in the group gets a connection with Shayna. Several people in the group have this ability. She tells me Shayna started talking to her as we were walking in. She gives me a mini-reading right there on the spot. Shayna tells her that I feel her while I’m in the car. I do. I was looking at the seat next to me on the way to the meeting, talking to Shayna. Shayna tells her she helps me with my work. The woman giving the reading gets tastes. Shayna gives her the taste of honey mustard, which reminds me of me making honey mustard sauce for her chicken nuggets. She asks me if Shayna was a “smart ass”. Oh yeah, I tell her. She mentions Shayna’s eyes and says she was always complimented on them. Shayna, Kayla, and Tywana share the same eyes and they are always complimented on them. Shayna says she deserved the compliments because her eyes were gorgeous. She asks me if Shayna played baseball. No. She says “Was she an athlete?” Oh yes! She gives me some hints on how I can communicate better with Shayna through my meditation. Shayna has told her I meditate. She says “I like this girl.” with a smile on her face. This is common when Shayna drops in on people. She asks me if I mind if she tells me something about my future, then she delivers the exact same message another friend, a non-professional naturally gifted medium gave. No one knows about that message. She mentions Alicia Keys which means very little to me. I think Shayna kind of liked her. I think she’s OK. Maybe it’s a reference to the hair, she used to wear braids. This won’t make sense to me until tomorrow. (see my next post)
The cool thing is the women who talked about re-integrating and the woman who gave me the reading are people many people would overlook in everyday circumstances. They’re quirky in their mannerisms and in their speech. They see things the rest of us can’t see. They live on a whole different level of reality and they struggle with how much of it to share with us. One of them, not the one who gave the reading, said she saw Shayna sitting on my lap resting her head on me as I was getting the reading. I love hearing that Shayna is with me all the time. I am so happy I came today. BTW, Karen wasn’t there.
I remind my friends that we all, experiencers and non-experiencers have probably felt like outsiders most of our lives. That’s why we’re at IANDS. And, that’s OK. The world is catching up to us, or maybe we’re dragging it along. It might not happen in our lifetimes. Those on the other side tell us they’re helping and it will happen “soon”. But, those people live with no sense of our time. Soon for them might be two generations from now. We will probably continue to feel lonely when we’re out in the “real world”, but thank God we have this island to visit every once in a while.