The Night I Died
( A true story about my
near-death experience )
was the summer of 1969 on a hot August night about 11:00 pm and
I was out cruising in my '69 V.W. Beetle down highway 51 just south of the
Tennessee-Mississippi state line. I had just bought a boss chrome, eight-track Leer tape
deck that day, and was listening to Cream's new song, "Born under a bad sign",
cranked up loud so I could get the most out of my box speakers mounted over the rear seat.
All of the sudden I had the strangest vision in my head that I was locked into a head-on
collision and there wasn't any way that I could avoid it. My stomach felt kind
of queasy and
I started to get scared.
Just then, a car came out of nowhere going at least 100 m.p.h. As he
tried to turn the curve in the road, the left side of the car lifted off the road because
it was going so fast. When it came back down, the car was headed straight for me! All I had
time to do was to turn my steering wheel sharply to the right in order not to take a
direct head-on hit. Then the car hit me with tremendous force and a loud "BOOM"
and my car spun around several times like a child's toy top. I knew that this was the end
of my life.
When my car stopped spinning, I was experiencing a great deal of pain
and the first thing I did was to feel my arms and body to see if I was dismembered. After
I did that, I looked down at my left leg and saw that it was bent at a left angle like a
backwards "L". I wasn't as worried about my leg as I was the pain I was
experiencing inside my body. I knew that all my ribs were crushed on my left side, and I
was afraid that they were puncturing my lungs, since I could hardly breathe, but luckily I
wasn't bleeding from my mouth.
I looked out my window a Highway Patrol car came flying past me with his
lights and siren on. He was chasing the drunk driver who had just hit me. I waved my arm
at him for help, but I guess he didn't see me me waiving or else he wanted to catch the
drunk who had just hit me. I didn't want to die sitting in my car, besides I thought it
might catch on fire. With this thought, I felt an adrenaline rush and I managed to push
open my caved-in door and drug myself out of my car and onto the street on my belly about
10 feet away from my car and rolled over on my back.
This photo of my poor Beetle is from a Polaroid
picture my insurance man took at the salvage yard.
I looked back at my car and and parts of it were strewn down the
street. I then looked up to the stars and told God that if He wanted to take me now that I
was ready. Shortly a crowd of people came out of nowhere and huddled around me. I heard
somebody tell the crowd to stand back so I could get some air. Everybody was making
negative comments that I wasn't going to make it. I was in incredible pain and in shock
also. Suddenly, all the pain from my neck down was shut off like a light switch. Then I
saw a tunnel of white light - I felt my spirit leaving my body and I started to ascend
upward into this tunnel of light at a very fast speed. I was dying! My mind was totally
focused on this and nothing else. I wasn't conscious of the crowd standing around me, of my
physical body, or anything going on around me.
I rose up the white tunnel of light faster and faster and higher and
higher until I was miles above the stars. Then I came to a stop and felt myself engulfed in
an overpowering "unconditional love", the likes of which I have never experienced in my life
- I was at complete peace. The Bible describes God's peace "a peace which passeth
all understanding". Complete peace, tranquility and harmony. It was what I
always thought heaven would be like, except it was better and much more
beautiful. Everything made complete sense to me. My mind was at one with God's
mind and I was at one with God and the whole universe. A mere thought and you
were immediately transported there! I felt I was in the presence Jesus and He
said," Come on John, come go with me-I want to show you something". As soon as
he said that, we were hovering over a beautiful white, christen beach along side
an ocean or a large body of water that was a pretty shade of blue-green. And as
if I was on a camera boom doing a movie, I came to a close-up of the sand. Then
Jesus picked up a handful of sand showed it to me and said," look at this
sand, John" as he let it slowly run out of his hand until only one grain of sand
was left in the palm of his hand. He said," do you see this single grain of
sand, John?" I replied, "yes Lord". Jesus continued, "Every crises and traumatic experience
that you have or will ever experience in your whole life on earth is as small and
insignificant as this one little grain of sand that I hold here in the palm of my hand as compared to
the glory and joy which awaits you here in Heaven. No more worries, no more
sorrow, no more
heartache or loneliness, no more pain, no more physical disabilities, no more disease or
illness -all that will be left on earth."
I then laughed to myself at all the things that I was so
worried about. I felt as though I was going to explode with joy-that I couldn't
take being in the presence of almighty God any longer-of the awesome power and
glory of God's infinite love and mercy!
Just then I felt myself ascending even higher in the heavens in the
tunnel of light. All of the sudden I stopped and a huge hand slowly came out of the tunnel
of light with the palm of his hand facing me and said," no John, I'm not ready for you
yet." I said," please God, I don't want to go back". As soon as I said that
I felt my spirit descending as quickly as I ascended, and felt my spirit come back into my
body and then I felt the pain come back and I saw the people all standing around me and a
preacher was bending over me and was saying words to try and save my soul from going to
hell. I told him that I was already a Christian and that I wasn't going to die,
although he and
everyone else was quite convinced that I was. About that time the paramedics finally came
on the scene and loaded me onto a stretcher and into the "meat wagon" and I was
off to the Baptist Hospital.
All of the doctors who helped with my surgery told me that I shouldn't
have lived through my accident and that it was a miracle that I was still alive. I know
God saved me for a special purpose in this life and I know that I am accountable to Him
for what I do with it. I have gone through many difficult times since my "near death
experience"-times when there didn't seem to be any hope left - I just wanted to give
up on life and call it quits, but I always think back on my "NDE" and it reminds
me that there really is a God in Heaven, because I met Him in a very personal and dramatic
way. I know that what I experienced was real, even though other Christians think I'm nuts
when I share my testimony with them. I also know that He does love me, even when I think He
doesn't and everyone else has deserted me, I know that He is there for me. This gives me
hope to go on when life seems hopeless and something to look forward to after my life on
earth is over. I know without a doubt that there really is a Heaven because I've
One thing my NDE has taught me is to be kind and compassionate to people less
fortunate than myself and to people in general - to be more giving of my time
to people who really need a friend - when other people ignore or shun them,
like an old lady who lives behind me an is lonely and needs someone just to
talk to. She really appreciates me taking the time to visit her-same with a
little crippled man I've known for years. He has no friends and sits alone in
his wheelchair in a nursing home-all he does is watch TV and sleep and eat-he
doesn't have any friends, except for me, I guess, and when I go to visit him
or take him to Wal-Mart to buy some things he desperately needs, he really
appreciates it and the time I spend with him. I don't have much financially
speaking, but I 've found out that rich people as well as poor people want
someone to spend time with them-seems like people are lonely these days and
need time spent with other people.
God also showed me that this time that we have here on earth, which is only a
blink of an eye, is a test to see where we fit in in eternity-in heaven or in
hell.....What we do with our life and how we conduct ourselves is his test for
each person on earth -to love one another as He loves us, and things that we
don't understand - we won't have the answer to until we get to heaven. I'm a
Christian, but I learned a lot about "unconditional love" from my mentally ill
friend's Jewish father and his family. They totally accept Marty and his
mental condition and all the negative things that go with it, and are there
for him in bad times as well as the good times. I wish I had had that kind of
love from my dad when I was growing up.
Death is only a "transition" to an eternal life with God if we only accept
Him as the Lord of our life and believe in Him and His son, Jesus Christ. If you are going through difficult times or have doubts about God's
promises and what the Bible says, just put your faith and trust in the Lord like
a little child and pray to him
for help and guidance even though nothing makes any sense now- then just take it one day
at a time. I hope my real-life testimony has helped you in some way. You know, Jesus didn't
tell us that this life was going to be easy, but we can persevere with his help and by his
If this story has blessed you in some way, or if you have had
a similar Near-Death Experience, please let me know by
e-mailing me a message by clicking the icon above.
Links to other Near-Death Experiences:
Emails I have received regarding my NDE :
I came across your NDE on the internet and would
like to add it to my website under the miraculous stories section. My URL is
http://www.visionsofjesuschrist.com/ If you were interested I would add
you story as it is and the two photo's, one of your car and the other of you
& your dog. I would add a link to your website.
May I ask if your NDE has influenced you beautiful
artwork? I see most of it has a light in it?
Webmaster of Vision of Jesus Christ.com
It never ceases to amaze but always fascinates me when I find a story like
I read it at Visions of Jesus. I found this site because they found me and
have just asked my permission to publish my NDE.
I visited your website. You are quite an artist! Ever need any verses to go
with those pieces? lol
Have you ever been to
Aftereffects of Near-death States
I have been meaning to put the link for IANDS on my NDE page but haven't
gotten around to it. You should read this, John. I was so like, 'Ah, .oh...'
when I read it. I never realized that 'we' all had so many things in common,
but then again I believe that we were chosen, don't you?
Another email from Margaret R.
Sorry I haven't replied. I have been out
of it. lol
Thank you, I have been writing since I
discovered I couldn't be an artist!
My views, well, I think I am very vocal on
my views. I defy someone to tell me that they can re-create my NDE in a lab!
I know exactly what happened but for a long time I was not sure why. To be
honest, I don't think I am still sure.
As I said I know it is a gift. It changes
your life and the people you touch forever. Not all people are Christians and
I don't judge them as God is the only Judge. For me, I try to follow the
teaching of Jesus Christ and proclaim Him to be my Lord. I look forward
someday to meeting Him. I have so many questions, but of course - on the
other side I imagine they will have vanished. I think it amazes me that
people still don't believe these things happened to us. Even my brother
doesn't. He says 'I believe you believe it happened.' That isn't much faith
is it? Does one have to see God to believe that He exists? But then this is
the same brother that believes I can cure myself of bipolar disorder, ocd,
etc. by 'positive thinking.' BTW, I am a positive thinker, I am also a
Not everything I write about is true, lots
of it I just make up by looking at a picture or whatever but I do write about
those things closest to my heart and you will find those things in my poems.
As far as the Iands site, I filled out my
story and sent it in. I had done that years ago, but I have updated my story
in the light of things revealed to me. Oh, the actual experience has not
changed, it can't...it is what has filled in the almost thirty years from
Yes, a lot of bad stuff happened to me too,
that is why I wanted you to look at the link about what we all have in
common. I found that fascinating. A lot of it is true for me, for instance -
being so childlike and trusting that I was used and abused, it took me years
to get over that. Losing the fear of death. I'm afraid of pain but not of
death. Loud noises drive me crazy, I welcome soundlessness. But the biggest
one for me has evolved over the past few years and that is that I can
sometimes see things from start to finish and know exactly what the outcome
will be. I saw this vision early on before my mother died and was helpless to
change it! Some of it could have been changed but no one would listen to me.
(No, John, I am not crazy.) It wasn't so much a vision as I just knew in a
flash, in a blink of the eye...I could see it all. Has anything like this
ever happened to you?
And the other thing that I did not write
about is that on at least three other occasions I have been on the outside of
my body - that was another thing 'we' supposedly have in common.
Well, I'll close for now. Please write,
there are very few people to correspond with who have had our experiences and
I am always interested in learning more.
I am a Christian....just wanted you to know I
appreciate you sharing your story with others. Have never had an experience
like yours...but believe every word you say. God bless you!
I Am a fellow artist.
I just read the story on the net...It really spoke to me. I have been
walking with the Lord for a couple years now after a long drifting away
period, and I love to hear stories such as yours. He delivered me from a
life of drug addiction, pornography, and a store that sold them both. It is
comforting to hear of these "glimpses" of heaven...especially the love, joy
and peace of being in the prescence of our Lord and savior, the Lamb that
was slain who is worthy of honor, power and glory forever. Thanks for your
witness. I have passed on the story to the friend who lead me back to the
Lord. He lost his son (who was saved) to a drunk driver a couple of years
ago. I think it will comfort him to imagine what his son felt when he passed
from this life on earth to the prescence of Jesus.
I read your web page and found it very moving, I
too had a NDE, and you are so right when you say people look at you like your
nuts. There are not many people I can speak to that understand what I saw and
how I came back. And the wonderful purpose I have in my Life. Unlike you I had
lost faith due to osteo- and Rheumatoid arthritis and Fybromyalgia, chronic
fatigue syndrome. My sister had a fall at the same minute I had my NDE, she is
spooked and will not talk of it again. She took a fall and her eyes were open
but she was not there I truly believe she was one of the angels that brought
me back to earth. I too saw the angelic white lights and on this day it had
rained and was dark as night at 3pm in the afternoon. the man that held me
for 29 minutes to stop the cutting of the seat belt on my hips, had blue eyes
and graying hair and beard and mustache. I spoke to him 6 months later and in
fact he was 32 years old and dark brown hair and brown eyes and was Italian. I
believe he was just one more angel sent to bring me back. God had his hand in
this NDE and I am now a devout Christian. with a faith in God that will last
my life time.
Thank you for listening. I wish there was a
support group. but writing this has helped me .
John, enjoyed your story of peace and
love ..made me feel better when I was down..
Your Christian brother,
I happened upon your NDE experience. I have no trouble
believing every word. But I wanted to ask you something. I used to do all I
could to help those I could, but lately I seem to pass on these opportunities.
I've had a problem with pornography and sexual sins for most of my life. I
have a wonderful wife and 6 children, and I hope the Good Lord will let me
into Heaven when it's my time. Please talk to me. I had a wonderful salvation
experience, and I'm so afraid that I've gone past the point of restoration. I
always seem to backslide.
Well, I tossed those porn tapes in the garbage this
morning. And I've been careful to stop my thoughts when they wander. So I mean
business with the LORD. And I realized that I lie alot. Just to be lying. I
know GOD said no liar will enter into Heaven. That's another area I'm watching
carefully now. My Mom and Dad believed in eternal security, but I seem to find
verses that support the other view also.
I just hope that I've not been cut off because of
my wicked ways. I feel we are very near the end and I don't want anyone I love
going to hell. People at work seem to be getting more wicked as time goes by,
and all I see on the tv is alot of stuff that GOD would never approve of.
I can relate to your unfaithful woman experience.
I've never been a chick magnet, but it seems after I got married, lots of
women were interested in me. Must be the devil trying to break up our
marriage. I've done many things I had to ask my wife forgiveness for, and for
awhile I was bragging on my foolishness to her. How that must have hurt.
My fear is that I'm trying to find someone to say
it's all ok (the things I've done). Down inside I want it straight, and my
desire is to please GOD. HE healed me many times, once of a kidney disease. I
can't say I love HIM with all my heart, because I am a selfish creature. From
my deduction of talking with you and just thinking on things, the best I can
do is to obey HIS commandments. "Love GOD with all your heart, and love your
neighbor as yourself." That's a pretty tall order when you think about it.
Gotta run now, write back anytime, and keep us in
Best to you,
like you're on the right
track, bro - and the reason
those people at work are
getting more wicked is that
this whole world is getting
more wicked - like you said,
just look at the crap on TV in
prime time these days. The
more you turn to God and try
to live a more Godly life, the
more Satin tries to trip us
up- he wants to destroy us and
will do anything to do it,
but we as Christians are
empowered with God's grace and
strength to combat the evil
that's all around us. Every
day I pray for God's
protection over me, my house,
my cars, and my dogs because I
live in a bad neighborhood and
Memphis, where I live, is a
high crime city- it's
dangerous just walking out
your front door these days.
from what you said in your
email, you're trying to live a
Godly live and that's all God
asks us to do, but stop
beating yourself up over the
past - the past is over with
and gone and God has forgiven
you for past sins. Just
concentrate on the here and
now and remember that we're in
spiritual warfare with the
rest of the world - that's
what sets us apart from it.
Worldly people at work will
hate us for what we stand for.
When I worked for Republic
Airlines years ago, the bad
guys I worked with set me up
to get fired on an on-going
basis, and after 7 years they
finally succeeded. I thought
at the time my whole world was
coming apart, but the job was
really bad for my back because
I had to do a lot of bending
over and lifting ( I have
severe spinal arthritis ) and I
hated to go to work every day.
I of course miss some of the
people I worked with, the paycheck
and flight and health
benefits, but there's nothing
else about that dang job that
the nail on the head when you
said that the best we can do
is keep his commandments. I
put one of my favorite verses
on my bio page - Proverbs
3:5-7 "Trust in the Lord with
all your heart, and lean not
on your own understanding; In
all your ways
acknowledge Him, and He shall
direct your paths."
praying for you my brother and
please pray for God to bless
me financially and with a good
woman - I have been alone now
for 14 long years after my x-fiance
of 7 years broke our
engagement. I'm anything BUT a
chick magnet theses days - I'm
fat, ugly and bent-over<G>.
Hello John, Just as a lark I did a search of my name,
John Helms, and clicked on your site. Small world, my father was born and
raised in Memphis TN, I was only back there once when I was a teenager, first
time I ever meet someone with the same last name. Any way, I was intrigued
about your encounter with Jesus, I know what he did for us and know a lot
about him I use to read the Bible every day but I don't have the feeling of
knowing him the way you do what do I need to do. I have said the sinners
prayer a thousand times bean to promise keepers down in LA, its like I am
searching and not finding anything. I must be doing it wrong any advice would
be greatly appreciated.
John W. Helms
I am pretty sure I am saved, but lately I've been so
scared I'm going to do something to lose my salvation.. is there any words you
have on this..? I am really freaked out about it because I have been so sick
lately I feel like if I die I want to know I'm going to heaven.. I know
that that's pretty heavy, I'm sorry, but I was really hoping you'd have some
words on that.. thanks so much..
My Response to
First of all, I'm sorry that you're so sick and will
be praying for your health. I'm not a minister - just an artist , but the
Bible, God's Holy word, tells us that once saved, always saved -
God dosen't take back his salvation once we receive it. The Bible also
says that no one comes to the Father (God) but by me (Jesus) .If you have
truly repented of your sins and believe that Jesus died on the cross to
save you from your sins, and have asked Jesus to save you from your sins,
and come into your heart, then that's all you have to do - it's a done
deal. Some people have an emotional / spiritual experience ( feeling ) when
they're saved-some don't - whether or not you feel an emotion is not
necessary for salvation, because God knows your heart - salvation
is not based on mere emotion - and if you're sincere about it then it's
just as real as if you had an overwhelming emotional feeling. I guess some
denominations think that you can "loose your salvation", but I'm going by
what the Bible says - I'll try and find the scripture verses that prove
<<I feel like if I die I want to know I'm going to
When Jesus was crucified, the thief on the cross asked
Jesus ( who was also on the cross next to him) if He would save him from his
sins, Jesus said to the thief, "truly today you'll be with me in paradise"
which meant that he saved the thief and that he would be with Jesus in
Heaven. I had a breif glimpse of what Heaven is like and it is beyond any
adjectives or words to describe- as soon as we as believers in Christ die,
our "soul" or our "spirit" goes straight to Heaven and we will be with Jesus
for all eternity. In Heaven there's no sickness, no sorrow, no worries, and
no pain - the Bible describes it as " a peace which passeth all
understanding" and for a brief moment when my broken body lay on the street
after my car wreck, I experienced that "peace" and I really did not want
to come back to this life, but Jesus told me that he wasn't ready for me
yet. When he is ready for me, I'll know that I'll be going to Heaven.
There's too many documented cases of near-death experiences for it to be
just a "feeling" that people have when they die or about to meet death - all
death is is a "transition" into another life - a "spiritual" life with our
our Heavenly Father if we are believers and for the unbelievers an
eternity in Hell.
Hope this helps.
The Holy Spirit led me to your testimony
today, and it touched me so much. Especially the part about how you are
touching those around you. The lonely elderly man, and the lonely neighbor.
His love reaching out to touch the heart of another. It is what it is all
about. To love those he places in our paths, with his love, little things, a
phone call, a visit, just spending time with someone who is lonely is what He
wants us to do, for his love reaches the broken hearted and makes a difference
in someone's life. Sometimes we don't even know how.
I have not had an NDE, although I have had
a life review when I was taken to heaven by the Holy Spirit. Love is what it
is all about. Love our enemies, truly love them, and that is what touches
others. Forgive those who hurt us, and love them, that is the message from
heaven. I had one visit to heaven when my husband was in a coma. The Father
allowed me to see what He was showing him. I felt the love that is there, the
joy, that exploded in me from the inside out, until I felt like I would
burst. I have had a few other visits, but not many in the past few years. My
heart cries out to be with Him again so much. I got to take care of my mom
for her last years one earth. I can only ask God forgiveness for the times I
lost my patience with her under the stress. She wanted to die in her bed at
home, with us, and the Father was so gracious to allow me and my children to
be with her as she went. I think the fear of death made me run, and run when
my husband died, and the last day when my mother was dying. I don't know why
we fear death. Finally, when the Lord took my precious companion, my precious
dog Biscuit, a few months following my mother's death, I finally was able to
accept death, and not run away as my dog was leaving this earth in my arms. I
believe God gives us companions to ease the hurt when we are lonely, and this
dog was just that. When she also was going to heaven, I told her she could go,
and she smiled, and looked and understood what I said, then breathed her last
It took me so long to not run away and not
to be afraid of death.. I am thankful for the understanding he gave me in
those grieving times. Thank you for reminding me in your testimony why we are
here, to love those He puts in our path, to touch the broken hearted. Thank
you for sharing your heart with me. It was what I so needed today.
Much love in Him,
My Response to
I would have answered your email earlier,
but I had to work today and have to work again tomorrow, but I just wanted to
stop for a moment before I went to bed and thank you for your touching story.
I'm sorry that you had to experience so much loss of your loved ones and even
your dog-we'll never know why things happen the way they do here on earth -
take New Orleans for instance- we won't know until we get to Heaven then God
will reveal every question we have for him. But as far as death itself is
concerned, our earthly body dies, but our spirit or soul lives on and at the
moment of death, is transcended to a better place that God has waiting for
us. I'll pray that God will give you peace of mind in the fact that you will
see them again someday when God calls you home, just like I'll see my parents
and grandmother when I pass on. I know the Bible dosen't mention anything
about our pets in Heaven, but I would like to think that there is a place for
them there also, because I miss my dogs and cats very much.
I'm glad you're reaching out to others
around you- you don't have to go very far to see someone in misery and God
puts us in places and in contact with certain people for a reason and it
sounds like He's going to use you in a mighty way because you are tuned in to
His Holy Spirit
God Bless You and you'll be in my prayers,
Your brother in Christ,
Thanks so much for responding to my email. I understand you are an artist
(how blessed you are!!), but in doing research on NDE's I was really touched
by your story.
I am personally going through a really difficult time in my life and the only
thing that gets me through is by googe-ing nde stories. Hearing about meeting
Jesus and our eternal place in heaven is the only thing that seems to get me
I read about the interconnectedness of all of us, something I believe but
lately grapple with since people change so much and seem so self centered.
Basically I feel like everyone I have ever loved or cared for has died (even
though they are still alive). (Except my parents).
I know I sound like a child but I am actually 38 and just dealing with a lot
of hurt and betrayals.
So I guess my question is .... this place called earth really is just a blink
and the REAL place is in heaven - you actually know this for sure??
I guess I just need a sentence reassuring me (a total and complete stranger),
... not to give up and to hold on, cause I feel like I am at the end of my
Thanks in advance for taking the time to read this!
God Bless YOU!
My Response to Mollie's email:
I'm sorry you're going through so much emotional pain in your life right now.
We all do at some point in our lives - a loved one dies, we're betrayed buy
someone we deeply love, and then there is physical pain and suffering that
millions of people go through each and every day and the depression which
accompanies it. I'm not going to get into it right now, but I was the victim
of a hit-and -run accident last year that really messed me up physically and
I'm just now able to walk with the aid of my cane, but I consider myself
blessed to be at the point that I'm at now. A lot of my friends thought that I
was down for the count and I wouldn't get any better, but with faith in God,
prayer, and stubborn determination, I have gotten better, although more
permanency disabled than I was before.
Pain and sorrow are universal - it affects every human being on this planet -
some more than others. I have a friend who is 65 yrs old in a nursing home
now, who's day consists of mostly eating the meals they serve him, sleeping,
and watching a little TV. His no-count brother cares nothing about him and
hasn't come to visit him in over a year that he's been there - won't even call
him on the phone to tell him hi. He is severely crippled and can't move his
legs at all and stays in bed 95% of the time. He has to be lifted out of bed
with a lifting devise that looks like some sort of a crane. He has no friends
who care about him except me - I'm the only person that gives a crap about
this poor, lonely little man and it just breaks my heart when I think of all
the years he spent in physical pain and sheer neglect of not having any
friends - I mean no one. I met Johnny thru my X-fiancé, Mary in 1985 - they
worked at the same place and we went to the same church. Back then Johnny
could at least use his legs like a tripod to keep him from falling over when
he was walking with his crutches, but it was still a struggle for him to go
just a few feet. It was really sad to watch Johnny hobble to the door of the
church on Tuesday nights after bible study and dinner. Most of the singles in
that group at church shunned him.
Then there's a sad story of a 5 month little baby girl whose stricken with
cancer and has to have some life-threatening operations at ST. Jude hospital.
She's the daughter of a woman who is a fellow worker of one of my students.
Then there's emotional pain - I had a very close artist friend named Stewart
who committed suicide several years ago over being distraught after he learned
of his wife's long-term affair with another man. That really hit me hard -
especially after my fiancé broke our engagement a year earlier and I was
experiencing a deep depression at the time over our break-up. As a matter of
fact I could write a short story about it, but I want to concentrate on
things that make me happy these days, because that accident last year was
God's way of telling me that I didn't have much longer on this planet and
that I better make the most of each day that He gives me. I really get mad
and disgusted at myself when I think back on all the time ( years ) that I
wasted letting myself wallow in depression and self-pity when I could have
been spending that time painting and making new friends and helping other
I'll tell you 3 things that are good for depression - one is physical
exercise. When we exercise, our bodies releases endorphins to the brain, which
in turn makes us less depressed and gives us a feeling of emotional
well-being. And of course exercise is good for the heart and your whole bod
The second cure for depression is to help other people - I've been absolutely
amazed at how good I feel when I help someone else less fortunate than me. I
don't have any money and I live on disability, but I can give my TIME to
somebody like Johnny who appreciates it so much that he always tells me that
it means so much to him for me to visit him every week at the nursing home.
You don't have to look very far to see somebody who has a bigger cross to bear
than you do.
The third cure for depression is to have an unshakable faith that God dose
love you and that He WILL pull you thru it no matter what things look like
right now. That doesn't necessarily mean that He will mend the relationship,
but He will do what is best for YOU and a lot of times it means not getting
our way, but to face life's problems head-on and to deal with them with His
help and guidance. I strongly recommend that you read your bible and pray on a
regular basis for God's will to be done in this situation - not yours - and
for Him to give you peace of mind and emotional strength. Pray this every day
from now on - time has a way of healing also. I thought that I'd never get
over Mary and get back into my painting, but I did, but it took time, and in
the process I drew closer to God and found a new respect for myself also.
Hardships in life temper us like steel is tempered with extreme heat. God is
the blacksmith and we are as a sword being forged in the fires of life -
with each setback in our lives, he bangs us into shape until we are a useful
tool and are ready to take on what life throws at us. I'll be praying for God
to give you emotional strength, peace of mind, and guidance in the days and
months to come. You'll overcome it - "just let go and let God"- place your
hand in God's hand and trust Him to lead the way.
Wow! Thanks so much John. You are an amazing human being!! I had scheduled
an appointment with a psychologist this week but I think I am going to cancel
it now because I know your points are very true, profound and basic at the
The world needs more people like yourself. I think that is why I reached out
to you because after reading your inspirational story, I realized you are
exactly the type of person the world needs more of. Most people here on the
East Coast are not so compassionate and are self centered. Generalization I
know, but I feel its true.
You also embody the true definition of a Christian. I know some people who
call themselves Christians but do not care for anyone but themselves.
Anyway, I just want to say from the bottom of my heart a sincere thank you for
taking the time for a total stranger like me in need. I am sure you make God
I will pray for you John to also give you the strength you need to continue
doing what you do. You have had enormous challenges and I admire your
fortitude and integrity.
I promise to pray for you.
I admire your artwork and hope you feel the prayer that I am sending your way.
Thank you again. Peace be with you and thank you for your time and
I am taking heed in your advice and plan to move forward in prayer and
strength through God. (plus the basics of exercise and helping others). God
I'm not sure how to start this e-mail. I was touched deeply by your NDE
story. It seemed to come along when I needed it most. (More on this later.)
My father exposed me to Christianity at an early age. My mom, not so much.
They are still the odd couple, in a sense. Dad still goes to church, mom
still smokes and gossips and gambles. I got a little bit of each trait from
them, good and bad; but after 40 years I've realized it's just who I am. As a
child I would go to Sunday school, then that same night sneak my mom's
cigarette butts from the ashtray and smoke them behind the house, or I'd take
her wine and drink a bit. It was somewhat confusing, and quite frankly, still
is; but with age comes better understanding and comfort in my own skin.
I currently live with my sister in ( deleted for respect of privacy ), just
east of Memphis. I used to live in Charlotte, NC. I lost my job last
December and finally found a new job here in Memphis with ( deleted for
respect of privacy ). My wife and 3 children are still back in
Charlotte until the house sells. I fly back once a month to see them. In the
mean time, I've tried to find something creative to do, not just to keep my
mind occupied, but to fight a mental illness. I was diagnosed with chronic
depression a couple years ago. I'm on medication, which helps, but I fight
this demon every day. When the doctor tested me and explained what it was, a
light bulb went on and many of my actions could be explained. Prior to the
meds I self-medicated with alcohol, even when I was going to church
regularly. I felt like a hypocrite. So I just stopped going. I go once in a
while now, but not regularly.
There was a time when I was a teenager that I really got "into the Spirit." I
had a profound salvation experience and it lit me up like a Christmas tree.
Soon I equated emotion to salvation (which are totally unrelated, I believe),
and that sent me for a loop. I was confused. Recently as I've looked back on
the whole experience, I felt I was disillusioned by the church...not by God or
Jesus...but by the church; which is another reason I stay away. Much of what
I'm saying here, I realize, can be expounded upon, but it would only detract
from the point of this e-mail.
As I searched recently for creative things to try, my sister mentioned
watercolor painting. I was decent at pottery in college, and she still has
some of my pieces displayed in her house, but I could never draw very well and
never considered myself an artist....and I can prove that by telling you I
wrote probably the worst book in history...you can find it on
called Rose Buddies.
Anyway, as I shopped for milk and cereal at
last week I found myself gravitating towards the art supplies. So I bought
some paint, brushes and paper, and off I went. My sister and I sat at the
kitchen table and painted our hearts out. It felt cathartic and freeing.
Since then I've done more research, learned about gousche and pastels and
stretching paper and what-not. But I am not a good book learner whith these
things. I am a hands-on guy. So I thought it would be cool to take some
watercoloring or drawing classes so I could get good
enough to do pleasing, soulful, regenerating art. That's when I stumbled
across your website, and hence, your NDE story. The story inspired me to
really explore the idea of bringing more art into my life, because when I'm
doing something creative like that, my mind doesn't wander or lose hope or
provide for anxious moments of despair, but more importantly, I feel more
alive and closer to my inner self, and hence, to God.
I'm thinking that taking a drawing class would set a good foundation for
transitioning into watercolor painting. Do you think this is a good idea?
What would you recommend?
Good Morning Jamey,
Thank you for the moving email you wrote me - I was the victim of a
hit-and-run accident a year ago June, and am in the process of getting ready
to go to court today to get my hit-and run case heard by the Tennessee Crime
Commission, so I'll give you the short version now and the longer one when I
get a chance to sit down and give it the attention it deserves.
Yes, I know ( not think ) that drawing or any form of fine art will help you.
I've had school teachers come straight to class from school all frazzled and
rung-out by a hard day at school and when they started painting, all that
stress just melted away. Art is very cathartic - it helps the old brain and
nervous system in many ways that I can't explain because I'm not a doctor, but
that's why they use it for rehab in many areas of physical and mental
problems. That's the short version - I'll write more later tonight if I'm not
too worn out ( didn't get any sleep last night ). Please pray for my hearing
to go well and get some money out of it.
Your brother in Christ,
Thank you, John, for your reply. I am hoping for a large monetary
remuneration for you in court today.
I look forward to your long version. Get some well-deserved rest.
It didn't go well at all on Thursday at court - I'm getting 0 dollars
for my lost wages. I've been kinda bumbed out about it , thus the delay in
responding to this email. About the "church" thing, a lot of people think the
same as you do - that doesn't mean that your salvation wasn't real. Christians
are people with flaws the same as everyone else. I have been let down by other
Christians at different churches, but that doesn't mean that the whole body of
Christ, i.e. "churches" should be labeled as bad or indifferent.. We go to
church to worship - it's not a social club. I am disabled with a bent-over
back and have to walk with a cane - I get shunned by a lot of people at church
and that used to really hurt me, but now I realize that I'm there to worship
and get a blessing from the song service and the pastor's sermon. If I stay
home and let those other people keep me from getting a blessing from the
worship service, then I'm only hurting myself. And if you go to church long
enough, you'll eventually make some friends there as well. There's also some
really good Christians who go to church and I think that we both need to give
the "real" Christians a chance, don't you?
After I reread your email I realized that the above paragraph didn't
necessarily apply to your problem, but to mine. But don't hold the "church" or
God responsible for you problems either. God gets blamed for everything hat
goes wrong in our society today. Satan is alive and well today - just look at
the 6:00pm news. The is an on-going war between good and evil in our world and
God gives us the ability to choose which side we're going to be on, so to
speak. We are also going to be accountable to Him for what we do with our
lives here on earth.
I'm sorry you lost your job and have had a problem with depression - I had a
case of severe depression when my fiancé broke our engagement back in 1991 -it
lasted for about 5 years - I didn't care about anything, was severely
depressed, and had a mental block to doing any kind of art work and gave up on
women and didn't date at all. I didn't resort to drugs or alcohol and even
went to a Christian psychologist, but that didn't help either. Prayer and my
faith in God helped me more than anything and having one or two good buddies
to talk to is what pulled me through. I eventually realized that the only
person holding me back from having a reasonably normal life was myself. As
soon as I accepted things as they were, ( including my disability ) I began to
get back to living a normal life even though I'm still lonely at times.
4 things that are good for
( Taken from one of my emails above )
1. Physical exercise: When we exercise, our bodies releases
endorphins to the brain, which in turn makes us less depressed and gives us a
feeling of emotional "well-being", and of course exercise is good for the
heart and your whole bod anyway.
2. Help other people - I've been absolutely amazed at how good I
feel when I help someone else less fortunate than myself. I don't have any
money and I live on disability, but I can give my TIME to somebody like Johnny
who appreciates it so much that he always tells me that it means so much to
him for me to visit him every week at the nursing home. You don't have to look
very far to see somebody who has a bigger cross to bear than you do.
3. Have an unshakable faith that God dose love you and that He WILL
pull you thru it no matter what things look like right now. That doesn't
necessarily mean that He will mend the relationship or whatever is causing
your depression, but He will do what is best for YOU and a lot of times it
means not getting our way, but to face life's problems head-on and to deal
with them with His help and guidance. I strongly recommend that you read your
bible and pray on a regular basis for God's will to be done in this
situation - not yours - and for Him to give you peace of mind and emotional
strength. Pray this every day from now on - time has a way of healing also. I
thought that I'd never get over my fiancé, Mary, and get back into my
painting, but I did, but it took time, and in the process I drew closer to God
and found a new respect for myself also. Hardships in life temper us like
steel is tempered with extreme heat. God is the blacksmith and we are as a
sword being forged in the fires of life - with each setback in our
lives, he bangs us into shape until we are a useful tool and are ready to take
on what life throws at us. I'll be praying for God to give you emotional
strength, peace of mind, and guidance in the days and months to come. You'll
overcome it - "just let go and let God"- place your hand in God's hand
and trust Him to lead the way.
4. A Pet - I'm adding my dog, Hershey to this list because he has
given me 10 years of unconditional love and devotion -something that I've
never experienced from another human being. A pet can give you
companionship when you are lonely and or depressed and also joy - they're
always there for you with a wagging tail and desperately want to please you.
Before Hershey there was Ginger, Puppy, Candy, Pepper, and my other dogs and
cats who have passed away who have made an impact on my life. This may sound a
bit strange to you if you're not an animal lover, but if you are, then you'll
understand. I don't think that a pet can take the place of a loving wife
or husband and children, but if you are among those of us who aren't so
blessed, then a pet may be the answer for your loneliness.
Original Christian Poems By John A. McKee
I received an email in October, 2006
regarding my "NDE" from a brother n Christ by the name of John McKee. We
emailing each other and he sent me some
wonderful Christian poems which he wrote himself. He is a very gifted poet and
and I would highly recommend that you take
some time to read these inspiring poems - you will get a blessing from them.
Below are the titles and links to these poems
: ( Adobe Reader is required for some of them. ) He has recently
several small paper-back books of these poems
and this information is also on his web site.
All nine books
of John's Christian poetry may be previewed / ordered online by clicking on his
Online through Amazon.com...
Online through the Baker and Taylor
Or online through the Cokesbury
and LCCNs are:
Praise Volume I" ISBN 9781589301962 - Library of Congress Control Number:
Praise Volume II" ISBN 9781589301979 - Library of Congress Control Number:
"Poems of Jesus Volume I" ISBN 9781589301948 - Library of Congress Control
"Poems of Jesus
Volume II" ISBN 9781589301955 - Library of Congress Control Number: 2007904756
"Poems of Inspiration Volume I" ISBN 9781589301924 - Library of Congress Control
Inspiration Volume II" ISBN 9781589301931 - Library of Congress Control Number:
"Poems of Devotion Volume I" ISBN 9781589301894 - Library of Congress Control
"Poems of Devotion Volume II" ISBN 9781589301966 - Library of Congress Control
"Poems of Hope
Volume I" ISBN 9781589302242 - Library of Congress Control Number: 2008908718
This is link to a poem I wrote about our nation - God led me to write it on
October 25, 2008
From God "
verse to live by:
"Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on
your own understanding; In all your ways
and He shall direct your paths."
you have any doubts about Jesus’ love for you or your salvation, please
rent Mel Gibson’s
The Passion Of The Christ.
learn more about "Ankylosing Spondylitis", click on this link to
the Spondylitis Association of America
Send mail to
John Helms with
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