I’m sure most of you are familiar with the phrase “my life flashed before my eyes.” This phenomena, commonly reported by near-death experiencers, is called a life review and involves a movie of sorts that replays all the experiences of life, good and bad.
I haven’t been well for the last year and a half, and strangely, I’ve been having my own life review on this side of the veil. Except mine is non-sequential and very slow. I’ve been surprised by all the things I’ve been recalling, which, but for the love of my Heavenly Father and Savior, would be unbearably painful.
I can hardly believe what is popping up for me.
Without trying, I’ve been recalling, in excruciating detail, all—and I mean all—of the sad, idiotic, and sinful things I’ve done since childhood. The people I’ve hurt. Bitter words tarnished by resentment. The pets I’ve neglected. My financial mistakes. My wilful teenage sins. My weaknesses, neglect, and foibles as a parent. It’s been a grand parade of folly.
I comfort myself with this: maybe it’s a preview of the life review I’ll experience on the other side of the veil. Maybe I’ll be able to say, “We’ve been over this. Next slide, please.”
I think this has been an unexpected answer to prayer. While I’ve been ill, I’ve thought a lot about the fragility of life and how surprising and swift an end can come. Accordingly I’ve prayed for the Lord to show me what I need to repent of. He has graciously obliged.
Through all this, I feel His perfect love and see His smile. I know I have and will receive more mercy than I think I deserve. I’ve learned to be less hard on myself because I know how kind God is.
I’ve heard of people who are nearing death say, “No regrets.” No regrets? Are you kidding me? You have no regrets about your life? I honestly don’t understand that. But if people can hold themselves up like that, well, more power to them. I can’t.
I am grateful for this glacial life review oozing across my mind. It has opened my eyes, softened my heart, made me more conscious and accountable for all the stupid, embarrassing things I’ve done in life. They are no longer buried. I am forgiven and I forgive myself, but some pain remains. I’m not wallowing in the past but I am experiencing it as if it were present. Sometimes it feels like I’m wearing a barbed wire shirt, but I’m getting through it. My appreciation for the Atonement has grown to reach heaven. I hope I someday I can reach heaven too.