Saturday, October 3, 2009

90 Minutes in Heaven

Baptist minister, Don Piper, writes an engaging account of his 90 Minutes in Heaven as co-authored by Cecil Murphey. Following a terrible auto/truck accident that occurred 18 Jan 1989, Don Piper spent 90 minutes in a Near Death Experience (NDE) before finally being rescued and taken to appropriate medical aid. While the first chapter deals with incidents leading up to the accident, chapters four through eighteen deal with the pain and horrendous aftermath of that accident. That leaves only two chapters which actually tell about his 90 Minutes in Heaven, so I felt the title was a little misleading. I was expecting him to dwell more on those 90 minutes and less on the months and years afterward that led up to his finally telling his story. The front cover states there are more than four million copies in print, so the book has been very successful in terms of financial success. The two chapters which I enjoyed most were, of course, those dealing with Mr. Piper's NDE, as I have had a keen interest in this topic all my life. The chapters following the NDE, I have to confess, were a little graphic and, on occasion, apparently embarrassing for him to tell. The humiliation he suffered as a result of being unable to do anything for himself following the accident was felt keenly, and this agony comes through powerfully upon the pages of his book. The good that came from Mr. Piper's experiences are manifested in his learning to accept the assistance of others, in his realization of his own limitations, and the strengthening of his character in terms of human kindness. It was an interesting story and kept my interest. That said, I wish he had spent a few more chapters on his NDE and less on his numerous humiliations. A mere fourteen pages included the brief account of his NDE while one-hundred-ninety-one pages were devoted to his agony and overcoming the obstacles of recovery. I would have liked to have read ninety pages of his NDE, as it was a singularly unique experience. However, the parable of gaining strength through adversity shows through admirably, giving readers a glimpse into the human condition that most of us, prayerfully, will never know.