Ghosts

I’d written the letter in the safe confines of my journal. With the initial written across the page, I wrote the words as they mixed with tears. I’m a letter writer, but some letters are best left unsent.

It had been a movie of all things, on a winter February afternoon, that had made the tears stream and my hands reach for my journal. It was only a few lines spoken to a grieving woman by her friend. “All of us live with ghosts,” she’d said, as she sat on the bed where her friend lay. “We must learn to live with them.

Get up. Eat. Get out there.” And with a pregnant pause I’m sure I’ve added in my memory for effect, she added, “Spring is waiting.”

Spring is waiting.

Sometimes people become ghosts. Dreams become ghosts. Hopes become ghosts.

And there’s a lot of time we find ourselves lying in that bed, holding onto them as if they are real. And we think that if we hang onto those ghosts, and who we were, somehow the world doesn’t change. It won’t go on without us.

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But it does. And we miss it, if we stay with those ghosts. We miss it, if we hold onto the former things.

It wouldn’t be until months later, on a street somewhere in the city, the Holy Spirit would visit and say words that would shake me to the core. “You can’t leave something behind unless you believe what is ahead is far greater.” I get caught up in loss sometimes, you see. Maybe we all do. But I let ghosts cloud my vision and I need to hear those words from that movie months ago:

spring is waiting.

It’s waiting. And spring is beautiful, and glorious, because new life is there. New life that we miss if we hold onto the ghosts.

But the beautiful thing about life is that we learn. We learn to live with the ghosts.  

So get up. Eat. Get out there.

Spring is waiting.

Needles


He puts the needles in, one by one down my leg. There’s a tap, a pinch, and then release. I see him out of the corner of my eye pick up an old machine and attach wires, and in a moment the pulsing of my muscles distracts me from the fact that there’s needles in my skin.

He tells me to rest. And I try – but I get distracted by the pink walls and the paper covered pillow. And when that loses my interest, thoughts slip in.

In this old room in the middle of Chinatown, all I can think about is how letting go feels a lot like those needles.

I was scared to walk in those doors. Not because of the small Chinese woman who greeted me. But because of the thought of putting needles down my body. Willingly. Was I crazy?

Maybe.

But I was also hopeful too. That on the other side of those needles – that pinch of skin – there’d be healing. Release.

So I laid on the bed and put trust into a stranger that he knew what he was doing.

And I can’t help but think about letting go.

Because I hate it. Because it hurts and I dread it. And there’s a pinch when you do it.

But people were never meant to be things we hold onto.

I’ve got to believe that past that hurt – there’s sweet release, too. With each heartache there’s a healing. There’s hope laced within the releasing. Within letting people be who they were meant to be; not things I hold onto.

And he comes back into the pink room and the lights come on. He moves towards the bed and each needle comes out, and there’s the massaging of tender muscles until there’s pain. And he stops. And the next visit is scheduled.

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And I walk out of there, still hobbling but hopeful. And maybe, in the end, that’s what I really came for.