There’s Always a Light: Ben Breedlove's Incredible Message
We often wonder what life would be like in the afterlife. Some of us fear it because we simply do not know what there is in the unknown or even if there is anything at all. Others embrace it as a new time and journey to explore and to leave behind the cares and troubles of our current life. In either case, most of us would probably hope that we would have that time we wanted to live our lives now and enjoy it to the fullest. Unfortunately, not everyone gets that chance, and such was the case for Ben Breedlove. Although his life was brief, he lived long enough to deliver a message of hope for a time in our lives that we must all eventually face.
Ben was only 18 years old when he passed away from a serious heart condition called hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, according to a story reported by MSNBC on December 28, 2011. It was a condition that Ben had his entire life, which thickens the heart muscles and forces the heart to work harder than normal to pump enough blood out of it.
By 2009, Ben’s heart condition became so severe he had to have surgery to put in a pacemaker. Ben had dealt with several episodes of passing out and was severely restricted from participating in physical activities, particularly sports. His condition had also required him to visit the hospital several times.
Before his death, Ben had posted a video with music in the background playing “Mad World.” In this video, he displays several flash cards, each one explaining his condition and his three near death experiences. The full contents of the video can be viewed through the links below:
The first occurred when he was only four. He remembered little from that day except for seeing a bright white light above him and tried to point it out to his mother, but she saw nothing there. He smiled in the video as he recalled this episode.
The second was during a routine tonsil removal over the past summer. During the procedure, he went into cardiac arrest. He recalled how the instance had terrified him and one of the cards had read: “"I was scared to die, but am SO glad I didn't." Once again, he gave a bright smile in the video.
The third occurred in December about a month before he passed away. He had been taken to the hospital after passing out in school. He explained that while he was passed out, he had a vivid dream in which he was wearing a nice suite and stood in a room with four white walls. He saw no one else in that room except for his favorite rapper, Kid Cudi. While they stood there, Ben heard a lyric from one of Cudi’s songs: “When will the fantasy end? When will the heaven begin?" After Ben heard those words, Cudi said: “Go now.”
Ben then woke up from his dream and found himself in a hospital bed.
As he recalled that dream, he smiled and pulled up several cards with the following writing in his video:
"I didn't want to leave that place." "I wish I NEVER woke up." "Do you believe in angels or God?" "I do."
Ben’s passing occurred on Christmas day.
Throughout his video, Ben was constantly smiling. Although he often admitted that his condition had scared him, he never stopped smiling. In fact, the closer he got to discussing his third near-death experience, the more he seemed to smile. It brought a warm feeling to my heart and gave me a strong reminder of how I should view my life.
It’s no secret that each and every one of us is scared of death. No matter how much we read our religious scriptures or how strong our faith is in the supernatural world, we simply don’t know what to except after we die. Sometimes in our lives, we want to live cautiously, trying to eat the right foods or avoid taking dangerous risks in order to preserve our existence as long as possible. Others times we may try to live dangerously, living for the moment because of our fear that we may not be around to see tomorrow.
No matter which point of view you may take, it can be easy to overlook the good and beauty of our lives. Ben reminded us of that value. I watched the video several times and it was very clear to me he dealt with a very heavy burden, yet he accepted it with happiness and optimism.
Although Ben was limited in with what he could do with his life, it did not stop him from living. He established a YouTube channel, providing dating advice for worldwide viewers. His sister was interviewed by MSNBC and she said that Ben was often messaged by girls in countries like Australia seeking his advice. Girls in his town would do the same and even treated him like a celebrity, taking pictures with him wherever he went.
We are so afraid of what tomorrow brings or what will happen to us after our time is up. We either hold back to keep ourselves from getting hurt or we try to rush headlong into situation fearing the worse is coming. Both views seem to miss an important principle that Ben grasped at such a young age: living the good life now.
In the last moments of this video, Ben came to a belief in the existence of God and angels. I’ve been a follower of Christ and his teachings for a long time, and I will admit that this does strengthen my faith in Him. However, this belief does much more for me than that and I believe it does the same for anyone who watches this no matter what you believe.
It gives us something to look forward to when our time comes, bringing some kind of hope that there is something wonderful for us beyond this world. It reminds us that we as people can find something positive to do during our time now no matter what problems ail us now. The more we push ourselves to accomplish something good in our lives, the more we look forward to the next day and even the next 20 years. That is what brings real happiness in our lives and perhaps even lessen our fears of the perils in this world including death.
The end of time comes for us all. Ben had his time, but it didn't stop him from smiling and living up until the very end. What excuse do we have for not doing the same?