Five books on life, death and the afterlife that help us see and understand things from a slightly different perspective.
I often have friends and people I meet along the way ask about books that I could recommend. Here are five that help us see and understand things from a slightly different perspective. They take us to places we might not have been before, and put us in others' shoes. We can learn much in a different pair of shoes.
Tear in the Desert by Father Ron Camarda
A priest’s story of being recalled to Active Duty with the Marines in 2004 during the Battle for Fallujah, in Iraq. Assigned to Bravo Surgical (equivalent to a MASH Unit), he received more than 1,500 casualties and was present as 81 servicemen died. This is a walk with God into the war in the desert only to find that the real war is within the human heart. The compassionate heart of Christ is undeniable, as families of the lost soldiers are visited and comforted by the very person who was with their loved ones at the end of their lives.
Thin Places: Where Faith is Affirmed and Hope Dwells by Mary Treacy O’Keefe
Bill and Terry Treacy die three months apart after 50 years of marriage and a lifetime of faith. Their 10 children find great comfort in the inexplicable signs assuring them that their parents are at peace, reunited in heaven and yet still very present in each of their lives. Mary describes these experiences as “thin places” and reflects on the fact that they are present in ordinary places at ordinary times. She calls such experiences “moments of grace,” revealing God’s loving presence in our lives.
Believe by Pattie Welek Hall
This beautifully tender, simple and yet profound book is the story about the loss of a child. It is a heart’s healing journey of explanation from a grandmother to a small grandchild about how her heart feels after her son dies. She answers his tender and open questions with great honesty, in terms a small child can understand, and lays a foundation from which one can come to see the celebration of life. Oma explains why, on her son’s birthday, she releases balloons into the sky as a gift for her son, to remind the angels to have a party for him. In Oma’s heart, he receives them.
Miraculous Moments by Elissa Al-Chokhachy
Elissa recently contributed one of her stories to my Guideposts.org blog. I recommend that you read the entire book, which is filled with 88 true life stories that give testimony to the eternal nature of the human spirit from people who have seen, heard and felt love from loved ones and friends after their earthly lives have ended. The author, a hospice nurse of 20-plus years, shares the wisdom and insight she has gained during her years of caring for both the dying patient and those who grieve. This book offers hope, comfort and reassurance to anyone who is mourning a lost loved one or who has ever wondered if life goes on.
Flight into Heaven by Dale Black
This is a wonderful story sent to me before publication, with the request for an endorsement. That was so easy to do. This is the story of a young pilot who survived a crash that killed two other pilots. Dale hovered between life and death for three days, during which he had a breathtaking experience of heaven. Against all odds he recovered and kept the story to himself for more than 40 years. His grandfather told him to “live” his experience of heaven and all he learned there, rather than telling about it. The flight into heaven changed Dale’s life and the way he looked at everything. He allows his story to be told now in the hope that it will bring encouragement and comfort to others.