Do You Believe in Ghosts?
Many moons ago I had a conversation with my dad about ghosts. Daddy was one of those who drew ethereal events like iron filings to a magnet. He had numerous experiences of the paranormal kind, and in my teens I harbored the hope, deep in my heart, that at some point in my life I, too, would feel the shivery brush of something otherworldly. It was around that time that Daddy and I had our chat.
Daddy had a particular fondness for conversations surrounding religion, psychology, and the paranormal. He was the guy people gravitated to at parties because, well, for one thing, he possessed handsome in abundance, and two, he didn’t just ramble on. He had facts and statistics to back up his words. He was interesting in the extreme. He was also an accomplished hypnotist—he did this for a living, Buttercup—which also added to his charm. Who isn’t curious about that level of coolness?
Anyway, while my conversations with my mother were usually about girl stuff and ooh-gobs of shared secrets, my discussions with my father were most often about different philosophies and ideas. On this particular day, we discussed ghostly encounters. At some point I referenced my grandmother and said, “If Grandma suddenly showed up in front of me I’d die of fright,” to which Daddy responded, “Your grandmother loved you and would never have hurt you when she was alive. Why do you think she would hurt you just because she’s dead?”
A fair question, and one I couldn’t answer. It was just the idea of a ghostly presence that scared the bejeepers out of me. “And that,” Daddy said, “is the reason you will never see a ghost.”
Daddy’s theory was that one had to be open to the concept of the spirit world in order for that world to make itself known. As long as I kept that door closed, he reasoned, it was unlikely I would recognize an encounter, even if one whacked me upside the head.
I’ve thought about this a lot through the years, have wondered what sorts of thought provoking and amazing things I’ve missed out on by being deliberately closed. I know there are those who caution against engaging “the spirit world,” that we don’t know whether we’re opening up to something good or something evil. But, let’s face it, that’s true just talking to someone at the grocery store, you know? We smile and say hello, but that guy in the plaid shorts holding the vegetables and BBQ skewers could be a Jeffrey Dahmer clone. And if you believe in spiritual guardians—well, isn’t that the same thing? I’ve always believed that Grandma is my guardian angel. Turns out my siblings and at least one cousin believe she watches over them, too, in which case Grandma is very busy. Of course, she was German and could organize and multitask like a champ.
In my book, Love Built to Last, the heroine, Maddie, is convinced that her deceased husband gives her advice. I’ve had a number of readers ask me if this means that I believe in ghosts, and the Naked Truth is, I don’t know. I love the idea that our loved ones don’t completely leave us, that when we need a boost of pure love it is ours for the taking if we open our hearts and let it in.
In spite of that, I’ll still freak out if Grandma shows up in my pantry. Maybe she knows this, and that is why when I feel her with me it is less about woo-woo paranormal stuff and more about the scent of gardenias and the unexpected embrace of a cool breeze, carrying with it an unnamed emotion that permeates my being and flows straight to my heart.
Now, that’s a ghostly encounter I can live with.
Do you believe in ghosts? Have you ever had an otherworldly experience? If you’ve read Love Built to Last do you think that Jack really gives Maddie advice, or is she just twisting things to see what she wants to see?
See you Friday for Observations From the Tub! Thanks for visiting. 🙂