Does the Rainbow Bridge exist?
With many readers asking about my thoughts on this subject, I began to research through near-death experience stories, scientific research studies and of course, a few Biblical perceptions. This is a case review and thoughts for a Rainbow Bridge, spiritually, through near-death experiences and scientific research.
As an animal lover, I always believed in a Rainbow Bridge or at least having the animals so loved in life, being there in our life beyond. My beliefs may be different from some others, and for that reason, I give you my findings in the case for an existence of a type of Rainbow Bridge.
The topic of animals greeting us in the afterlife has been a question in many of us who love our animals and believe in God and Heaven. As a child and even to adulthood, this question seems to last forever. For several years and recently, the question has gained even greater urgency to find an answer. I cannot say this is an answer as to the “Rainbow Bridge,” yet it is certainly compelling through scientific research and some near-death experiences of children and adults. Stunningly, the findings and stories hint to a strong belief of “yes, it does.”
As a child, I remember a piece of scripture we were taught that made such an impact on us for love of animals. In that childhood mind, I head it as the Lord saying ‘Whatever you do unto the least of these, so you do to me.“ Well, that was my child version anyway and I felt it even meant animals. (The scripture’s exact words appear at the end of these articles.) Playing with doodle bugs as cows on a imaginary mini-farm, we were always sure they were released from their toothpick fences, back to their home and families.
As we had as many animals on our large acreage, we also learned to love St. Francis of Assisi, who emulated the life of Jesus in all ways. To this day, my love for animals is proudly displayed in the form of a beautiful tile of St. Francis in my kitchen, hanging above the large double windows. The ledges outside the windows serve as wide perches filled with birdseed for birds and squirrels, each morning. Seeing bluejays and cardinals and fluffy little squirrels warms my heart and again, that child-like appreciation returns in seeing the beautiful creatures that God allows us to have around us.
In a quote from St. Francis of Assisi, the patron saint of animals and living strongly in the same manner of Jesus, says "A tool in your hands I am dear God, the sweetest instrument you have shaped my being into. What makes me now complete - feeling the soul of every creature against my heart. Does every creature have a soul? Surely they do; for everything God has touched will have life forever. And all creatures he has held." - St. Francis of Assisi
Francis saw animals as his brothers and sisters because they were God’s creatures, just like people. He said of animals: “Not to hurt our humble brethren is our first duty to them, but to stop there is not enough. We have a higher mission -- to be of service to them wherever they require it.” So Francis prayed that God would work through him to help animals as well as people.
Flocks of birds would sometimes gather while Francis was speaking, and The Little Flowers of Saint Francis of Assisi records that the birds listened intently to Francis’ sermons: “St. Francis lifted up his eyes, and saw on some trees by the wayside a great multitude of birds; and being much surprised, he said to his companions, ‘Wait for me here by the way, whilst I go and preach to my little sisters the birds’; and entering into the field, he began to preach to the birds which were on the ground, and suddenly all those also on the trees came round him, and all listened while St Francis preached to them, and did not fly away until he had given them his blessing.” While preaching to the birds, Francis would remind them of the many ways in which God had blessed them, and conclude his sermon by saying: “Beware, my little sisters, of the sin of ingratitude, and study always to give praise to God."
My story and faith for the Rainbow Bridge:
Within the past two years, I have lost my beautiful black and white Cocker Spaniel, Roxie, and not long after, the sweet Chloe, a Hemingway cat descendant with eight claws on each front paw, my loving Belle, a lilac point Birman and within three months, my Siamese/Russian Blue angel cat, Lola. All three cats were between the ripe old ages of twelve to fourteen years old.
Four year-old Roxie was let out of our gate by teens in our neighborhood late one night. Many people had their dogs released from their yards that night. Roxie happily took the path we walked each day. She became confused in the darkness and tried to cross a busy highway. She was hit twice by cars and left in a ditch, dying. As I desperately drove down the streets with the windows down and screaming her name, my cell phone rang.
Roxie was micro chipped. It was our vet and animal control calling me to the spot where she lay. They helped me put her in the car and we rushed to the emergency vet. She was beyond help. I held her as the euthanasia was administered. My tears did not stop for days. I had to keep my faith in being able to see her again one day. That test of faith was soon to become a series of hurdles. But I could still feel her here.
Later, I would experience the deaths of my three cats, Chloe, Belle and lastly, Lola. Our last beloved pet, Lola, part Siamese and Russian Blue, after extensive surgery for a very aggressive form of cancer, stayed with me for another six months – until the cancer came back spreading even faster. As the time passed, she would not leave my side, never being within three feet of me. I began to sleep on the couch with her to comfort her last month, as the cancer had spread to all parts of her body. We knew the time had come. I had her wrapped in “our” favorite blanket as the vet delivered the injection. Lola’s eyes focused on mine…until the life in her eyes left. Left for where?
I have always hoped for that beautiful, glistening rainbow bridge where they will all meet me. My faith in an animal afterlife was shaken badly…I needed and wished for an answer. And then, as if a spiritual answer was sent to me in my research of near-death experiences, I stumbled upon a research study in dying animal brain consciousness after death. My faith had been shaken, but not destroyed - and especially, through these reports in near-death experiences, research and spiritual and biblical quotes.
Next - The case for our animals greeting us at the Rainbow Bridge in near-death experiences...
These insights provide a strong case for near-death experiences in meeting loved animals on the other side.
(continued in Part 2)