About the Author
Mary Helen Hensley is a chiropractic doctor. She divides her time as a healer and seminar facilitator. She lives in Los Angles with her two daughters, Jada and Jemma Skye, who are also blessed with metaphysical gifts.
Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.
Promised by Heaven Chapter 1
“YOU’RE ONE lucky little lady.” The voice seemed to float in from beside me with a deep, soothing Southern drawl. “Are you feeling strong enough to tell me what happened?” My nose burned with the smell of disinfectant, and every square inch of my body ached as if I had been trampled by a herd of wild elephants. I opened my eyes and tried to focus on the man standing next to me. As my sight adjusted to the harshly lit room, I realized that I was in a hospital. The man who was speaking to me was not a doctor but a policeman. There were nurses walking in and out from behind a curtain, constantly checking monitors, smiling, but saying nothing. I could hear a woman’s voice requesting assistance in the ER over a loudspeaker.
I looked over at the officer, careful not to make any sudden movements, because it felt as if my head would split in two if I did. In a raspy voice, sounding as if I hadn’t had a drop of water in days, I said, “Hey, I know you. You were at the accident.”
“That’s right,” he replied, with a slightly puzzled look on his face. “Can you remember any details that might help me figure out how all of this happened?”
I swallowed and grimaced with pain, unaware that I had fractured a bone in my neck and that the rest of my spine was now shaped like a backward letter C. I thought back to earlier in the afternoon, when I had set out on a short drive to town, and suddenly blurted out, “You should talk to my friend from college. She was only a few cars behind me when it happened and saw the whole thing! Did you find the piece of paper on the front seat of the car? A lady put it there, and it had her name and number on it, but then she ran away. There was a guy in some kind of uniform who turned the engine off. Surely he saw something!”
The officer became visibly uncomfortable and confused. “Young lady,” he queried, “how do you know about the lady who put her phone number in the car?”
“I saw her, of course.”
“And just how did you know that your friend was at the scene of the accident?”
“I saw her, too,” I replied, starting to get a little agitated.
With a tone much less confident than when our conversation had begun, he wrestled with his words. “Miss, there is no way you could have seen any of that happen! Your friend . . . the lady with the phone number . . . the man in uniform. All of those things were going on while you were still unconscious and pinned in the car.”
It was at that moment the penny dropped.
I struggled to pull myself up so that I could look my inquisitor in the eye. What I was about to share was going to change me in ways that I could scarcely imagine. I immediately became emotional as I proceeded to tell him what had really happened that afternoon. He listened carefully as I described exactly how the accident had taken place and the unusual circumstances that surrounded it. He stared at me with his mouth partially open, his brow furrowed as he listened on in amazement and confusion. It all seemed so clear to me, but he was obviously very disturbed by the uncanny way in which I was able to describe the incident. When I had finished speaking, he asked no more questions. In fact, he didn’t say another word and quietly left the room.
As I sat on the hospital bed, I looked around at my sterile surroundings and reflected on what I had told the policeman but more so, things I hadn’t told him. The day had started out like any other, but what had transpired that evening was nothing short of miraculous, and until now, no one has ever heard it in its entirety.
An elderly man dressed in dirty overalls and worn-out work boots got into his car to run a few errands in the afternoon. He drove down Highway 17, one of Charleston, South Carolina’s, busiest motorways, and proceeded toward his destination. No one will ever know if he simply didn’t see the red light, or if he sped up in an attempt to make it through the intersection before the oncoming traffic entered. His speed would indicate the latter, and his collision with a young couple earlier in the year suggested his deteriorating driving skills and slow reaction time should have taken him off the road permanently. We never met face-to-face, but this man’s life was now forever entangled with mine. He shot through the red light, smashing into me, broadsiding my car, and hurtling me into oncoming traffic. The violent impact literally knocked me out of my body.
My first memory of death was that no matter how we die—in an accident, a murder, or even from an illness—we can exit the body just prior to its actual demise, if we choose to do so. Time means nothing during the transition from this form to the next.
The day had been unusually warm, even for the South. It was December 14, 1991. I was on my way to a Christmas party and just two months shy of turning twenty-two. Dressed in a Santa Claus T-shirt and bright-red Bermuda shorts, I had just left my apartment and reached the major intersection at the end of my road. Little did I know I was about to become the newest member of the old statistic that states: “Most accidents occur within two miles of home.” Waiting for my light to turn green, I had no idea that the crossroads before me was to be the metaphorical and metaphysical crossroads of my life. When the light finally changed, I moved slowly through the intersection, safely making it past the first few lanes of cars that had stopped at the light. Just as I was passing by the last lane before turning toward town, I looked left, immediately realizing I was about to die.
Time ground to a halt as I felt my body brace for the collision. Then a funny thing happened. I became consciously aware that not only was this accident waiting to happen, it was waiting for me to make a decision as to how it would take place. I was consumed with a clarity that I am still unable to adequately describe. I had the distinct choice of remaining in my body, experiencing the horrific impact with all senses intact, or I could simply exit, allowing the remainder of the scene to unfold without feeling the sensation of having my body crushed.
It all seemed very natural, and it felt as if I had all the time in the world to make this decision. Its deceptive illusion is so obvious when faced with death. I was so overwhelmed with a certainty that I had “been there and done that” so many times before, I sensed I had nothing to gain from experiencing this impact inside my body this time. This time. . . . It was this choice that has shaped the rest of my life, because this time, unlike the countless times before, I remembered dying. Call it evolution of the spirit or an old soul finally figuring it all out again. At that moment, I became engulfed by the peace that passes all understanding. I was comfortable with the familiarity of it all as I recognized that I was not about to become a helpless victim of death, but an active contributor in my own passing.
Time resumed at an explosive rate as I catapulted upward and out of my body, moving instantly from participant to spectator. I watched the driver make no attempt to swerve as he slammed his car into mine, like an old sea captain, purposely steering his ship of fate into the waters of my destiny. I could hear the festive jingle-bell necklace I wore around my neck banging out an eerie tune at the instant I saw my head smash into the driver’s side window. The sound of bending steel echoed as I watched the seat fold in half beneath my body, crumpling like piece of paper. I looked on with peculiar and detached interest as blood began to soak through my clothes. The glass had shattered and flown up my shorts, cutting my most personal areas and embedding into my bare legs. The safety belt had pinned me to the back of my seat, as if my battered frame was hanging in suspended animation. As the momentum slowed, the car finally came to rest in the middle of the highway, stopping six lanes of traffic in its tracks.
Now out of my body, I noticed that a friend from college had been only a few cars behind me at the same stoplight. I simply observed her horror as she recognized the mangled body that was trapped inside the now-crushed Toyota Corolla. It was then it occurred to me as strange—I had just witnessed this accident. A shocked state of awareness set in as I took note that I was effortlessly floating, looking down at the body that had taken me through twenty-one years of life, and it did not faze me that I was no longer inside it. I quickly adjusted to the absolute freedom of being unencumbered by a physical form and watched as the rest of the scene continued below.
A lady, who was either in a rush to be somewhere else, or too afraid to get involved at the time, ran over to the car, placing her name and phone number on the front seat of the passenger side. A man in uniform reached in, turned the ignition off, and frantically looked to see if he could pull me out. He soon realized that the entire left side of my body was pinned between what was left of the seat and the bashed-in driver’s side door. He tried to keep onlookers from getting in the way. People were rapidly beginning to congregate, some attempting to offer a helping hand, but most just trying to catch a glimpse of the wreckage and the unfortunate soul it belonged to.
As I began to gather my wits, I comprehended that I was transitioning from life into death. Immediately, one of my greatest childhood fears was instantaneously dissolved. I had always had a terrible dread that when we die, we cease to exist. Poof! Gone! No memory or identity, just nothing. It was a ridiculous fear, in my case, as I had been exposed to numerous extraordinary paranormal experiences. In fact, the first two decades of my life had not been without their share of visions, visitations, and prophetic dreams. Nonetheless, there was still a deep-rooted anxiety that periodically gripped me in my youth, no matter how many times I had seen proof of life after death. At the time, like so many in their formative years, I was young and confused and didn’t fully understand my dreams and visions.
I was overjoyed to remember that I knew exactly who I was, with all of this lifetime’s memories intact, but with a complete lack of concern for my body and the end of the life I had actually been living only moments before.
I know people have described near-death experiences with the “tunnel of light.” I did see the light, but the trip through the tunnel must have been so fast that I actually missed it. I will, however, never forget the sound that accompanied me on this journey. It was the most bizarre buzzing noise, unlike any hum I had ever heard. It was present as I watched what happened on the ground; however, a most beautiful drone, the otherworldly tones of the Music of the Spheres, replaced it as I landed in a magnificent bright light. How could one ever adequately describe the symphony of the heavens? One second I was hovering above my car, watching the spectacle that was my own accident, then, in a flash, I was somewhere else. Somewhere so miraculous that my human mind and limited vocabulary could never articulate its awe-inspiring beauty.
Without delay, I became conscious of two “Beings,” illuminated by the most stunning backdrop of fluid light. The colors weren’t from our world, as I have never seen such translucence in a rainbow or vibrant shades in any work of art. I was surrounded by a mixture of a distant relative of magenta with a shimmering, pearly sheen. The atmosphere seemed to breathe this unusual hue with the palpable texture; I could feel it all around me, in me. . . . These two Beings appeared to be a part of these colors, yet seemed to step from the palette, taking on a solid and recognizable human form. They were wearing what resembled flowing gowns, but the brushed caramel material from which the gowns were made looked to be a part of them, as opposed to separate pieces of clothing.
They greeted me with a love and joy so pure; it was as if I could feel myself melt right into them. For a moment, I became one with them. I had temporarily become that extraordinary wash of light, feeling it course through my soul, cleansing me and welcoming me home. It was perfectly clear that the spirits before me were not friends or family from the life I had just abandoned. They were guardians who had spanned millennia with me, watching and guiding lovingly from this place that was becoming more familiar as each second passed.
The stories of Divine Beings who lovingly watch over us were true! These were my guides, my spiritual watchdogs. They really did exist! They were there to assist me in my transition from incarnation in the physical to life on the spiritual plane. I was now becoming fully aware of how I had known these Beings, sharing in the excitement of this reunion. We were not speaking in the manner I had been accustomed to in my earthly existence. We were sharing from our hearts, soul to soul, in a universal language that knew no bounds or limitations. There were no words spoken, only thoughts and feelings that filled my spirit with lucidity that far surpassed that of any dialogue I had ever partaken in on Earth.
As I felt the presence of these Guides, these watchdogs, I was flooded with the memories of how it all began: an odyssey of adventures as my lifetimes unfurled before me. The backdrop of colors that greeted me on my arrival was now like a grand cinema screen, surrounding me 360 degrees and in multiple dimensions. In a single instant, it all became crystal clear. I was ready to examine the story of my life. With the interest of an actress critiquing her own performance, it was as if I was watching a film with my best friends. My spiritual cheerleaders enveloped me in their love, proceeding to guide me, step by step, through twenty-one years on Earth as Mary Helen Hensley: the marvelous, the mediocre, and the dreadfully disappointing bits of my intriguing young life.
How startling it was to see how tiny gestures had snowballed into life-changing moments for those who had witnessed them, and how heartbreaking it was to see the same effect with thoughtless acts and unkind words. Still, I watched, taking mental notes as to where I had been excellent at taking on soul-inspiring lessons about the importance of kindness and compassion in all situations. I also became painfully aware of how, in the course of history, the phrase “judge not lest ye be judged” had been invariably altered, losing its most vital point—that no one great deity judges us in the end. It is we who must judge our own performances. This is truly a daunting prospect when watching your life play out in front of you: aware of the contents of each scene, unable to change them, yet knowing what’s coming next.
In that all-loving space, I understood that it was me, myself, to whom I must be accountable.
Far from the stories I had grown up with in the Bible Belt of America, there was no fire and brimstone, no wrath of a vengeful God. Only the hushed solitude of a place so beautiful it hurts to remember.
While looking back at my life, I was experiencing humankind’s most difficult challenge—to sit with oneself. The experience was despairing as well as euphoric, but ultimately it was love revealed in its highest form, which no person should fear. Remaining ever mindful that every second really does count, in the midst of all the chaos, joy, a...
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