Hollywood Book Reviews
Title: Bridging the Gap: A Spiritual Journey to Heaven and Back
Author: Calvin Cassady
Publisher: Inspiring Voices
Genre: Non Fiction – Inspirational
Reviewed by: Barbara Bamberger Scott
A trip that begins as an adolescent prank ends in near tragedy, and a life is permanently altered in author Calvin Cassady’s book A Spiritual Journey to Heaven and Back.
In 1971, Calvin Cassady set out on a one-day road trip, having lied to his parents about the destination and the planned activities. The “fishing trip” they believed he was taking with friends was actually a quick visit to sample the pleasures of Branson, Missouri. A freak accident cut their plans short, and though his two buddies were relatively unscathed, they fully believed that Cassady had been killed. The author has no memory of the accident itself but clearly recalls an ascent into heaven where he was surrounded by dazzling light and peacefulness: “It was a scene of total tranquility.” A voice spoke through his heart, welcoming him in. Yet he knew he was not worthy; hadn’t he lied that very day? How could he be pure enough to experience eternal happiness? Those thoughts pulled him back to earth, where for weeks he battled with surgeries on his head and leg, both of which had been torn apart in the wreck.
The result has been for Cassady a renewed commitment to living his life consciously and, as much as possible, righteously. Dedicating himself to the teaching profession along with wife Vicki, his high school sweetheart, he has recorded several significant encounters with his students over the years. Along with these are personal events including a tornado in 2003 that devastated their family home, analogous to the accident of 1971 that had ripped his body to pieces. There are other remembrances too; his mother’s death and the illness of a close friend which seemed to demonstrate Cassady made the right choice in the aftermath of the car wreck. It was obvious he was destined to live a life of service to others. He had remained a faithful churchgoer and participant in his Episcopal faith. The re-dedication which sprang from that early experience will now include sharing his perception of heavenly guidance with a larger audience.
Cassady’s experience is similar to other NDEs recorded in the current era, but his perhaps shines out for the nature of the decision he made to return; not simply because he didn’t wish to leave his loved ones, but because even as he was offered the chance, he knew he was not ready for heaven. His writing is plain, showing a certain naiveté regarding fine points of grammar and syntax, but his narrative clearly conveys honesty and sincerity. He has a wish to help and guide others who may need a reminder, as we all sometimes do, that life on earth is precious and serves a higher purpose.
Cassady’s recollections are written to inspire; some readers may wish to use his book as a focus for religious study groups. This book is further proof that we are spiritual beings and we are here to learn and love. Bridging the Gap is potentially transforming for the reader.