When the Wall Came Down


When the Wall Came Down

by Ken Ebert

It was a quiet Monday morning, three days before Thanksgiving Day. I was reading about angels when the wall exploded.

A loud noise remains in my memory, but all went black from there. When I opened my eyes the scene before me was appalling. A large blue van was sitting in my living room! Its front fender was inches away from my left arm. I shouted an expletive and then twice called out the name of Christ.

Two people were in the van. The air was thick with smoke and dark gray dust. My phone line was cut, but survival instincts kicked in. I ran to a neighbor's house to call 911. I also had to make another emergency call because natural gas flooded the house. A gas wall heater had been torn loose. It had rocketed across the room, past my ear, where it sat next to the bent cast iron wood stove. The scene looked like one from Baghdad after the siege.

After being released from the ER, I was able reflect upon what had happened. I felt nauseated. Looking at the rubble with an analytical eye, I could not comprehend how I had lived at all. The wall was false adobe: a wooden frame filled with field stones, adobe mud, and hay. Upon impact it exploded like a grenade, casting four to six pound stones, and large, thick slabs of plaster throughout the room. I took several hits – two contusions on my left arm, which I had used to shield my head, and one solid blow at the base of my skull behind my left ear. No concussion, no fractures. It was a miracle, and I went to work the next day.

The power of the impact was tremendous, but there had been another, greater power around me. The spirit woman I had met in a near death vision, nearly 20 years before, had been there to help me. Remembering the guardian spirit, I felt both the power of love and the extreme terror of having beheld such power in action. Yet spiritual love somehow permeated the many feelings that swarmed in my body.

No one died. The driver, an elderly man, had blacked out. The doctors later said that he had endured a silent heart attack. Upon impact, his chest humped against the steering wheel, which may have restarted his heart. His daughter was also in the car, and she happened to be my brother's boss. Her injuries were the worst of all of us, but none were critical. When she and I were released from the ER, we chatted and embraced one another.

No liability was assumed by the driver's insurance company. After 23 nights, I was able to return home from a motel. All of the furniture was demolished. I figured the computer was as well, but it booted up. Before the accident I had started writing the final chapter of a book about my previous near death experience. Now I had a new NDE, a new story to tell – a bang-up finale instead of a recap. The humor, the bittersweet irony of it, is a delightful annoyance. Deep in debt, no relief in sight, no word from the lawyer, makeshift furniture in the living room – but I have my health, along with a mandate to tell my story.

My first NDE was celestial and visionary. The new one was all grit. In the contrast lay the humor. And the connection: from heaven to earth. My guardian spirit was quite at home in both realms. Maybe that is the message: neither realm is better unless you are there to live the experience.

In my own living room, during a moment of deep peace, my life nearly ended in an instant. The largest change that occurred is that I broke my isolation from people. I began to converse with strangers, talk about what I had learned – through words, smiles, glances, and hugs. That doesn't pay the bills, but it does enrich the life that was nearly lost. I still resent the intrusion. But I love the life that remains.

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