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Several years ago I had the privilege of getting to know a couple who’d recently moved into the district to start a local business. This is an abbreviated version of a story they shared with me.

Their daughter Sarah (not her real name) had been born with spina bifida and was not expected to live beyond her first few years. However, despite numerous operations and trips to hospital she defied those predictions

Due of her condition, Sarah was not able to walk and became confined to a wheelchair. Sarah would often comment how she longed to run and play like other children her age, but because she wasn’t able to, she developed a love for reading and especially enjoyed the Bible stories.

At the age of ten and with her health progressively deteriorating Sarah was admitted once again to hospital. Her body was becoming more fragile with each passing setback and her stays in hospital were becoming longer. One day while on a hospital visit from her aunty, Sarah candidly and calmly told her aunty she was not going to live much longer.

To downplay Sarah’s frank comment, her aunty told her that she was sure she would be fine, just like all the other times.

Sarah did get to go back home, but this time her recovery was considerably slower and she spent all her time in bed in her room.

Sarah’s mother shared with me that for many days, every morning when she walked into Sarah’s room and pulled back the curtains Sarah would ask the same rather unusual question, “Has the cherry tree come out in blossom yet?”

It was early spring in Central Otago and outside her room stood a lovely old cherry tree. Her mum would check the tree for signs of blossom and say to Sarah, “No, sweetheart, not yet.”

This little ritual continued for a while until one day when pulling back the bedroom curtain Sarah’s mum noticed the first blossoms were indeed now beginning to show themselves, so with excitement she told Sarah that she could see the first flowers beginning to appear.

On hearing this and with a gentle smile Sarah told her mum that she would be going home today. Confused Sarah’s mum said, “but sweetheart, you are home.”

With her mum and dad at her side Sarah passed away peacefully that afternoon.

I share this as a reminder of another very real dimension at play in this earth realm, one not experienced with our physical senses.

It’s a reminder that when our body dies, it may be the end of our body but it’s not the end of our life. And for Sarah no more need for a wheelchair.


As someone, who was fully aware of this unseen realm, once said to me while lying in a hospital bed, “I suspect at the moment I die I’ll be more alive than ever.”


Let’s not make the mistake of only relating to this world with our physical senses. There is way more going on than they detect.

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