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Special to The PREVIEW
More and more, we hear or read of people who have had near-death experiences or divine encounters. As bizarre as this may sound to some, those who have explored the spiritual aspects of their faith or contemplate their own spirituality realize that the human journey is filled with experiences that are beyond common explanation. Stepping into the realm of the divine is the focus of study at St. Patrick’s Episcopal Church during the Lenten season.
As a part of that focus, Pagosa Springs resident Dr. Pam Kircher will be the guest speaker on Thursday, March 20, at 1:30 p.m. at St. Patrick’s Episcopal Church, 225 S. Pagosa Blvd. She will be discussing her book, “Love is the Link,” in which she describes her own personal near-death experience as a child and how it has influenced her life’s work, first as a private physician and later as a hospice care physician.
Through her own encounter with death as a child suffering from meningitis, she grew up with a different perspective on life than those around her. It took her some years to realize that her near-death experience had made her more empathetic, more acutely aware of the feelings of others. She could actually feel what others were feeling and this had a profound effect on her decision to make her vocation in a helping profession, to become a doctor.
As she matured, she felt that she could impart some wisdom to those in the medical field in terms of patient care on a spiritual level. Initially, she did this with some fear and trepidation as to how her message would be received. However, once she made her first presentation, she realized that she had important information to impart. She became more forthcoming about her experience and quickly began to realize she was not alone. With her willingness to share her story, others came to tell of their own.
Through these conversations, she began researching and documenting the effects of near-death experiences on those who had had them. In her book, she also shares her own witness of those to whom she administered hospice care who were near death. She has been privileged to sit with the dying and to see firsthand that transition from life to death. Her book sheds some light on the commonalities and differences of the experiences, as well as the long-lasting effects on those who have survived them.
“Christians see death as a holy experience,” says Fr. Doug Neel, “not something to be feared. We know that the Bible assures us there is a place prepared for us and that for now we ‘see through the mirror dimly, but then will see face to face’ (I Corinthians 13). Our faith tells us that our mortal life is not the end, that we will have eternal life with God. We can only assume that those who have experienced what Dr. Kircher experienced have been given a special gift, a brief glimpse of what lies beyond our mortal lives.”
Kircher’s lecture is free and open to the public.