Thursday, November 18, 2010

‘More Glimpses of Heaven: Inspiring True Stories of Hope and Peace at the End of Life’s Journey’ by Trudy Harris, RN – Book Review

Buzz this

Having grown up with an older mother and my grandmother, I have been confronted with the subject of death quite a lot in my life. I was intrigued by the title of the latest book I have read, ‘More Glimpses of Heaven: Inspiring True Stories of Hope and Peace at the End of Life’s Journey’ by Trudy Harris, RN.

Here is the synopsis of this book:

More true stories of the tender beauty of life’s end. There is more to death than simply ceasing to live. In Glimpses of Heaven, retired hospice nurse Trudy Harris offered an intimate look at the final days and moments of terminally ill and dying people. Now she shares more of her stories and also stories from other medical and hospice professionals, allowing the veil to be drawn back on God’s handiwork, while we are both living and dying.
If you have lost a loved one, are facing a terminal illness, or are simply curious about what happens when we pass from life to death, More Glimpses of Heaven offers you an even deeper insight into God’s plan for our lives every day.

Here is the biography of this author:

Trudy Harris, RN, was a hospice nurse for many years, moving on to become president of the Hospice Foundation for Caring. During those 22 years, she continued to play a very natural role for her as a nurse, in helping people to enter the Hospice program when she knew it would be helpful and appropriate for them to do so. At the same time Harris took on additional roles in marketing, public relations, fund-raising, and development, raising more than 45 million dollars in capital contributions for the HFC. These successes enabled the organization to establish a residential care facility for patient care, and to create an Educational Institute through which physicians, nurses, social workers, and other medical professionals are trained in the understanding of end-of-life and Hospice care. She was hired by the local Hospice when it was serving 6 to 10 patients and retired when they had more than 950 terminally ill and dying patients in their care every day. She retired feeling that the work to which God had drawn her many years before had been accomplished. Since retirement, Harris remains active in connecting the needs of terminally ill and dying people in her community with the hospice program she knows can best meet their needs. She is the author of Glimpses of Heaven. She is now living in Jacksonville, Florida, with her husband and enjoys traveling, reading, being with friends and family and loving her five grandchildren, with two new little ones on the way.

Here is Mrs. Harris sharing her heart as she speaks about her first book, 'Glimpses of Heaven:'

This book includes personal observations from Mrs. Harris, as well as other medical professionals. Each is a true story telling about the final days and moments before their patients (and, in some cases, loved ones) entered into eternity.

Mrs. Harris shares the final conversation she had with her dear friend, Marie, who had been in her life for decades; she is a wonderful example for how to live a life pleasing to the Lord:

She spoke of lifelong friendships and how God ordained them for His very own purposes. It was one of the most loving conversations I had ever had with a friend, and I remember it, word for word, to this day. Marie died a few days later surrounded by her family and friends, and safe in the arms of her Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. She had proclaimed Him to everyone she ever met all her life, and now she would see Him face-to-face for all eternity. I am more than certain that when He saw her coming, He went out to meet her, knowing that whatever she had to say would bring a smile to His face. (p. 26)

Here is an example of how the Lord meets us right where we are; the person in this story is Donny, a three year old boy in the final stages of leukemia, as told by Bonnie Morris:

My journey with my new young friend and his family began in a way I will never forget. I had probably only spent ten or fifteen minutes with Donny when he explained to me casually that Jesus came to visit him sometimes. I asked him what Jesus did when He visited. Donny looked at me with smiling eyes and announced that they played together and that Jesus told him everything would be fine. (p. 29)

I loved the gracious way that the Lord showed Mr. Winters that he had some unfinished business that needed to be attended to before he left this earth:

“Don’t worry about next week,” I said to him. “Right now you need to patch the holes that seem to be in your soul. God sends us messages in unlikely ways sometimes. This is one of those times. You need to pay attention now. You are blessed to be given this extra time and a chance to make everything right. This is a warning, and you need to get busy and make certain that everything is right between you and others and with your Creator. Open your heart to God, and together with Him start fixing what is unresolved in your life. Whatever is not resolved between you and your family or friends and whatever is not settled between you and God, work on that now. Ask Him to show you what you need to do, and He’ll help you. I promise.” Mr. Winters remained quiet the whole time I was speaking, looking at me intently and taking in every word I said. (pp. 69-70)

Bonnie Tingley shared the honor and profundity of how God uses her in the life of patients; in this case, the patient’s name was James. She also explains that not only the patient, but the caregiver receives much:

When God calls us to a certain work, we know it. He prepares the ground He asks us to walk on ahead of time. He gives us everything we will need to minister to His children and to bring them safely to Him. And in some way that we will only understand later on, He ministers to us at the same time.
I know of no other experience that is filled with greater peace and joy than to walk someone into heaven. It is a rare and sacred moment and one in which you feel you can reach up and touch the face of God. We are simply vessels through which He makes Himself known to His children. Very humbling indeed. (p. 98)

Mrs. Harris shares how she was personally ministered to when she shared her heart with a gentleman named Ronald, a gentleman who reminded her a great deal of her own father:

I really do believe that Jesus presents Himself to us in many disguises, and He simply wants to see how we will respond. In truth, what we do for others, we really do for Him. Jesus told us in the Scriptures that we are often visited by angels unaware. I had to ask myself, “Is this one of the times that Jesus was referring to?” It sure felt that way. Regardless of who Ronald was, my experience with him was wonderful and memorable, bringing my dad back to me in a most intimate and loving way. (p. 113)

In the Conclusion, Trudy shares how her mother taught her and her sisters to spend their day:

When my sisters and I were children, our mother told us to wake up each morning thanking God the Father for the safety of the night and the brand-new day. She said to spend the entire day with Jesus, walking and talking with Him and following His example. She told us to ask the Holy Spirit to be with us as we slept and to be our teacher, comforter, and our guide. In this way, waking or sleeping, we are always with Him. This was very sound and loving advice.  (p. 201)

Wonderful advice indeed! She goes on:

God wants us to be aware of Him at all times, morning, noon, and night, and to know that there is nothing about our lives too trivial for His concern. He asks us to be like children with Him, believing, loving, and trusting Him at all times. Think for a moment about the times you have been aware, in the smallest ways, that He is near you, that He is prompting you to understand something in a whole new way and when you just suddenly feel peaceful for no reason. Those times make you smile, make you feel safe and understood in a way that is not of this world. This is when God has let you know, in the subtlest of ways, just how close He is to you. Take a moment and thank Him – He is close enough for a whisper. (pp. 201-202)

I love the concluding paragraph of this emotionally touching book:

When Jesus tells us He is always with us, He means exactly that. He is always with us. Walking or sleeping, loving Him or being far away from His love, choosing to listen to Him or ignoring Him, we can’t change the fact that God is always with us. God never wants to be away from us, not even for a moment. Look for Him, recognize Him, spend time with Him, love Him. If you allow Him, He will be the best friend you will ever have. (p. 204)

For someone who may be hesitant to allow God into his/her life, this paragraph should be a wonderful push to move closer to Him!

I found this book to be very heartwarming and comforting. It is clear that people don’t think about their professional lives or their financial portfolio before they leave this mortal coil. Instead, they focus on the things that are really important in life – friends, family, and God. It forced me to evaluate my life and think about things I need to do, like forgive people and seek forgiveness. I was also touched by how loving God is in each of these stories – how He met each person exactly where they were. I was also struck by how kind and compassionate these people were to their patients, and how they led them closer to the Lord in unique ways.

One thing that I did miss in this book is the fact/reality the God still heals; that was not evident in this book. God does heal in ways in which we aren’t necessarily happy, i.e. by taking our loved one into eternity. But He also stills heals diseases and illnesses, and allows people to continue to live. I have a miracle in my own life – the healing of my husband, Fred, in January 2007. So I am partial to hearing about that kind of healing. Mrs. Harris did not address the possibility of miracles, and I was a little disappointed in that. But that is not the purpose of this book, so I will be gracious!
I plan on passing this book along to my sister-in-law, who is a nurse and is studying Palliative Care; its goal is to prevent and relieve suffering and to improve quality of life for people facing serious, complex illness. I pray she is compassionate and loving to her patients, and makes them aware of God’s love for them, just as Mrs. Harris did and continues to do.

You can order this book here.

Available November 2010 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group. This book was provided by Revell for review purposes.

No comments:

Clicky Web Analytics