Letters 11-23-2015

Cheering From Petoskey While red-eyed rats boil fanatically up from the ancient sewers of Paris to feast on pools of French blood, at the G20 meeting the farcical pied piper of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue thrusts a bony finger at the president of the Russian Federation and yells: “liberté, égalité, fraternité, Clinton, Kerry--Obamaism!”

The Other Mothers And Fathers Regarding the very nice recent article on “The First Lady of Yoga,” I have taken many classes with Sandy Carden, and I consider her to be a great teacher. However, I feel the article is remiss to not even give acknowledgement to other very important yoga influences in northern Michigan...

Drop The Blue Angels The last time I went to the National Cherry Festival, I picked the wrong day. The Blue Angels were forcing everyone to duck and cover from the earsplitting cacophony overhead...

Real Advice For The Sick In the Nov. 16 article “Flu Fighters,” author Kristi Kates fails to mention the most basic tool in our arsenal during Influenza season... the flu vaccine! I understand you might be afraid of being the victim of Jenny McCarthyism, but the science is there...

Keeping Traverse City in the Dark Our environment is our greatest asset. It sustains our lives; it drives our economy. We ignore it at our peril. Northern Michigan Environmental Action Council (NMEAC) has submitted letters of concern to both the city commission and planning commission regarding the proposed 9-story buildings on Pine Street. We have requested an independent environmental assessment with clear answers before a land use permit is granted...

All About Them Another cartoon by Jen Sorensen that brings out the truth! Most of her cartoons are too slanted in a Socialist manner, but when she gets it correct, she hits the nail on the target! “Arizona is the first state to put a 12-month lifetime limit on welfare benefits.” That quote is in the opening panel... 

Unfair To County Employees It appears that the commissioners of Grand Traverse County will seek to remedy a shortfall in the 2016 budget by instituting cuts in expenditures, the most notable the reduction of contributions to various insurance benefits in place for county employees. As one example, the county’s contributions to health insurance premiums will decrease from ten to six percent in 2016. What this means, of course, is that if a county employee wishes to maintain coverage at the current level next year, the employee will have to come up with the difference...

Up, Not Out I would like to congratulate the Traverse City Planning Commission on their decision to approve the River West development. Traverse City will either grow up or grow out. For countless reasons, up is better than out. Or do we enjoy such things as traffic congestion and replacing wooded hillsides with hideous spectacles like the one behind Tom’s West Bay. At least that one is on the edge of town as opposed to in the formerly beautiful rolling meadows of Acme Township...

Lessons In Winning War I am saddened to hear the response of so many of legislators tasked with keeping our country safe. I listen and wonder if they know what “winning” this kind of conflict requires or even means? Did we win in Korea? Did we win in Vietnam? Are we winning in Afghanistan? How is Israel winning against the Palestinians? Will they “take out” Hezbollah...

Home · Articles · News · Books · Don Piper spent 90 Minutes in...
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Don Piper spent 90 Minutes in Heaven

Elizabeth Kane Buzzelli - October 11th, 2010
Today, Piper is a pastor and the author of the New York Times best-selling “90 Minutes in Heaven.” He’ll share his experience of the
afterlife in a Big Life Ministries presentation, to be be held at Bay Pointe Community Church, this Sunday, October 17 from 6-7:30 p.m.
How did the book come to be? After months in the hospital and years of therapy and surgeries, another pastor asked him about the time he
was declared dead. Until then Don had kept his experience to himself but he finally opened up to his friend, describing it in words he declared inadequate to the experience. “Warm, radiant light engulfed me . . .” he said. “I could hardly grasp the vivid, dazzling colors.
Every hue and tone surpassed anything I had ever seen. . . I stood speechless in front of a crowd of loved ones.” He became aware of a bright light he called “brilliantly intense and utterly luminous.” But not God and not Jesus. For Piper, heaven was amazing light, old friends standing in front of “a brilliantly ornate gate,” and heavenly music. He’d been sad to leave, he said. He didn’t want to be drawn back to his earthly life.
How does Pastor Don Piper differ now from the man he was before the accident?
Piper: I have learned a far deeper compassion and understanding of others. I was a pastor before the accident and counseled people. I officiated at funerals. I always knew the things to say but now I’m not just saying comforting words. I know where their loved one has gone. My priorities are completely rearranged. There is no fear in
me of the end of life. I hope I can pass that on to others.

NE: The man who hit your car -- an inmate from a local prison driving a guard on a food pickup for the prison -- have you spoken to him since the accident and your experience in heaven?
Piper: The man went back to prison. In a sense, so did I. Years of hospitalization, pain, rehabilitation. He was paroled by the time I
was well enough to contact him but what I’ve done is written him a letter, included in a new book I just finished writing. In the letter I forgive him and tell him that I probably won’t meet him here on earth but I know now I will meet him in heaven.
I didn’t want to write the book at all. It took a long time for friends to convince me I had to tell the story. Then I agreed only if I could tell it with absolute honesty, unvarnished, just as it happened. I’m sure not a hero in this, more a victim. Still, if I could help others, bring comfort, then I said I’d tell the story.
Otherwise I’d never have been talked into writing about heaven. That was so wonderful and so private.

NE: Do you think the life you led before the accident merited the reward you were given?
Piper: No, I was an ordinary man on the way to church. What I know now is that it isn’t what happens to you, but what you do with it. I
had to decide how everything that happened was going to affect me. Was I going to be defeated or use my circumstance to bless others? I know now that heaven is real. Thousands ask how to get there and I know that living a fuller life leads to an eternal life. That doesn’t mean a pain-free life here on earth, not an easy life, but what ever it is, it has a beautiful ending in eternity.

NE: Your wife, Eve, what did she learn from your experience? Has she grown too?
Piper: Eve is the hero of my story. When the truth of what I would become hit me, it hit her too. She took care of me through this long
roller coaster ride. She emptied those bedpans, balanced the checkbook, worked at her teaching job, stayed at the hospital with me through those long months. Eve is stronger now too. She learned to lean on others and on herself. We’ve been married for 37 years. I’m a survivor, but Eve’s an overcomer.

NE: Are you the same person today as you were then, standing outside of heaven’s gates?
Piper: I didn’t understand why I was given that glimpse of heaven and then it was taken away. What changed was that I understood why I had
to go through the pain I went through. Now, when I hold a hospital patient’s hand I understand how real that pain is. When I speak to the family of a loved one who has just died, I speak with assurance.
My message to everyone is always: you can make it. Life may be different after a huge life event, but it will always get better.

NE: In heaven, you say you received no special message; that you were only shown possibility. Do you wish there had been more?
Piper: I’m glad I didn’t see anymore than I did. If I had, I couldn’t have functioned back here. I would have been too angry over the loss. It was enough to know how glorious and magnificent it is and what is waiting for all of us. In the talk I’ll be giving at Bay Pointe Church I’ll be telling people that we’re taking reservations
for heaven now. I was only 38 when I died and came back. You have to be ready for heaven at every moment of your life.

Elizabeth Kane Buzzelli will be teaching: A Novel Experience: Fiction Writing Workshop, at NMC on Friday, Nov. 5, 9 am – 4 pm at Oleson Center. Call 231-995-1700 to register.
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