Touched By Eternity: A True Story of Heaven, Healing, and Angels
by Susan Harris
Published by White Lily Press
Review by Shelley A. Leedahl
$19.99 ISBN 9-780994-986948
Rural Saskatchewan writer Susan Harris wears a number of hats. I’ve previously reviewed two of her Christmas alphabet books, but her literary prowess also includes inspirational and nonfiction work. It’s appeared in Chicken Soup for the Soul, and Sunday School students may have read her biblical literature in class. Outside of writing, Trinidad-born Harris can be found presenting on her extraordinary religious experiences, and hosting an Access7Television series called “Eternity”.
In Touched By Eternity: A True Story of Heaven, Healing, and Angels, Harris explores her greatest passion, Heaven. Indeed, she claims to have an “obsession about Heaven,” and if you read her new book you’ll understand why. In clear, well-written prose, Harris tells the otherwordly story of her three near death experiences, each occasioned by a health crisis, and what she felt and observed on the proverbial “other side”. Add anecdotes about angels, a description of fiery Hell, and a few visions, and you’ll also glean why she’s dedicated her book to “those who long for Heaven”.
Born into a family of “old-fashioned Pentecostals,” it wasn’t uncommon for Harris to attend revivals where people spoke “in tongues,” and the author writes of her own early ability to speak in tongues: “My English words ceased and strange words began to flow from my mouth in a foreign language I had not learned. It was a full-bodied, fluent sound that spouted at first then gushed like a stream from a rainforest mountaintop.” Harris was eleven, and her own daughter spoke in tongues at age four.
The book begins dramatically with a desperate text message to her husband after her teeth began chattering, three days after a wisdom tooth extraction. I commend Harris for her ability to make readers feel they’re in the room as she slowly drags herself from her dining room to a day bed in excruciating pain. It’s 2017, and she’s about to have her second near death experience. She sees “a spectacular castle,” and writes that “The castle is blue, a luminescent, glorious, amazing shade that I haven’t seen on earth. The sides and edges are trimmed with gold …” Heaven. And this is the beginning of the “remarkably ordinary” woman’s drive to share her experiences, and “to carry peace, compassion, and the message that Heaven is gained only through Jesus Christ” to whomever will listen.
One of the angel stories is particularly interesting. After Harris and her husband marry at the Las Vegas Wedding Chapel, they’re walking the Strip and get harassed and followed by a “youth of African-American descent”. Suddenly a large man, “possibly of Mexican descent” with “black shorts that came down to his knees,” appears and the youth halts, “as if he had bumped into something”. Harris later reasons that the protector was an angel.
Many may think of death as the ultimate negative experience, but Harris’s deep grieving for a return to the peaceful “Heaven’s meadow” of her first near death experience – while in her doctor’s office – denotes that it’s anything but.
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