We all live with ghosts, and today is a day mine make their presence known more than others.
I wanted to write something about the ghosts we live with, and then Jamie went and said the things I wanted to, only much better… so read his words below instead…
What does it mean when something is haunted? What exactly is a ghost?
Is it when something from the past refuses to leave? Is it when something dies but doesn’t go?
It’s easy to talk about haunted places. A haunted house. A haunted building. We smile at those stories. We get excited. There is no stigma, no shame. But what about haunted people? Isn’t it true that, as people, our lives can become haunted things as well? The past can haunt the present. The past can steal the future.
Isn’t that what most of this is about? Something painful in our past? Something breaks or something dies and in living with the pain, we begin to live with ghosts. And by our choices, we either ask the ghosts to leave or we help them make a home.
If we can talk about haunted buildings, then we should be able to talk about haunted people. We should be able to put a hand up and say, “I’m not doing well” or “I need some help” or “Can we talk?”
Maybe we begin to ask the ghosts to leave when we begin to ask some other folks to join us in our haunted places. In the broken parts of stories. Our messes and our questions. To meet us, to know us, to help, to care, to listen.
Maybe we begin to help our friends become unhaunted when we let them know we’re not afraid of their pain. When we ask to really know them. When we ask to see inside. When we do our part to go beyond the distance and the smile, deeper to “who are you?” and “how are you?” and “are you okay?”
i have been a haunted house. i have had things die but stay and i didn’t know how to make them leave. And there were certainly times i didn’t want them to leave because they were beautiful. They were no longer real but they were beautiful. They were bridges to brighter days. i thought they were my dreams.
But reality is the best place to live. Reality is where healing happens. In the honest light and by the voices of our friends.
We all have our past. We all have our pain. We will all know ghosts from time to time. But if our life is like a building, then we should open our doors to let some people see inside. And into our darkest places – into those rooms that hold our fears and dreams – we will begin to walk together. Friends with hope like candles, telling ghosts to go.
So may we open the doors, shine light into dark places, and tell the ghosts to go…