If we learn to listen and observe carefully, the dying can teach us important things that we need to learn in preparing for the end of our own life's journey. From standing at the bedside of the dying, Robert L. Wise came to realize there were important patterns and steps that the dying were trying to describe. And, yet, many miss these life lessons when they go to great lengths to avoid a conversation or encounter with the dying. Wise learned by stopping and listening to the dying that we can get beyond our morbid fears of death, to come to a place of peaceful acceptance and to be able to look ahead to a dignified celebration of death. Inspiring stories of those with one foot stepping into eternity give us assurance, hope, and a fresh expectation of what lies beyond the grave. We can all face it without fear. Here are fascinating stories offering reassurance and promise.
In this unassuming but engrossing volume on what the dying can teach the living, Wise accomplishes something rather unusual: making a case for the validity of "near-death" experiences from a traditional Christian perspective. The prolific nonfiction author and novelist, an archbishop in the Communion of Evangelical Episcopal Churches, has conservative Christian bona fides twinned with a gentle, folksy manner that invites readers to take his collection of "snapshots" from the deathbed seriously and to confront their own fear of death. Drawing from a very wide-ranging array of Scriptural, spiritual and literary narratives, Wise hopes to inspire readers to listen to those who are dying, ask questions that help them articulate what they are experiencing and even pray for their healing as they make the passage from this world to the one Wise is convinced is just in front of them. For almost every argument that scientists have posed attempting to debunk "near-death" experiences, Wise has a countervailing anecdote, presented with winsome humility. Will his eclectic array of stories convince the skeptics? Probably not but neither can his volume be dismissed as syncretistic psychobabble. In most respects a common-sense manual of pastoral care for the dying, this book should be popular with Christians and non-Christians alike.