Saturday, July 19, 2008

Halloween Spirits

As part of my support of my 17-year old granddaughter I write letters to her. I try to send one each week. The following is a portion of this week’s offering.

I want to reflect with you on the spirit side of Halloween, or on spirits no matter what day of the year it is.

I have no doubt that there is a spirit world. I have difficulty locating specifically where in the universe the spirit world is located. It seems to be very close, as if in the same room sometimes, but it is clearly not visually here most of the time. In my humble opinion I suspect that the spirit world is located, as best as I can describe it, in a parallel universe that is very close to us and our universe.

Certainly I accept as true from those whom I trust who have experienced such things, that there are souls that are known to us “on the other side of the curtain,” in the other spiritual realm, in the parallel universe if that is what it is.

I am not at all interested in meeting and communicating with a spirit from the “other side.” I know of some who have. Mostly it scares me to contemplate the activity. Christ and the angels began most introductions with “do not be afraid.” Yet, I am uncomfortable imagining the appearance of a spirit in the same room as I am in.

There have been one or two cases of what may very well have been visits from angels in my life. One fellow in particular who stood at a gas station and talked with N and me, invited us to turkey dinner that evening, a few minutes after the engine on our car caught fire when we were on vacation in Oregon. Although we thought that he walked down the road when he left us, less than a minute later there was no sign of him.

My customer/friend Skip relates that a fellow stopped and talked with him while he was at an outside café in Spain. The man told Skip things about Skip that no one else knew. Then he gave Skip instructions to do something specific with his life. Then this person left and Skip has not seen or heard of him since.

Do images of spirits appear in people’s bedrooms at night? I don’t know. Not in mine. N’s mother, a few days before she died, while in a nursing facility, described people that she had seen “on the other side” and was distracted from our presence by looking, peacefully (very unusual for her) at the foot of her bed where neither of us were, as if she was looking at another visitor that we could not see in the room. And my grandmother, shortly before her death, while bed-ridden in a nursing home, told of seeing and talking with her beloved and deceased husband. My friend M, certainly has the ability to “see” things that most of the rest of see. She knows other people’s thoughts. She can tell if an accident victim’s soul has left the body or whether it is worth it to try to resuscitate that person at the scene of an accident as she works with the local fire department.

I trust these events as recognizing something that is real and is also outside our ability to prove.

These things fit well with my view of God, of Christ and the Holy Spirit being always very present, very local. As the young fish said to the older fish, “I’ve been swimming all over looking for the ocean. Where is it?” Meaning that the fish was in the ocean but it was so close, so present, that the young fish could not recognize that he/she was swimming in it, was being buoyed up by it, was swallowing it.

For me, God may very well be out there in interstellar space, but I know that God (ungendered, beyond gender, as much as you are so much more than the little toenail on your littlest toe is part of you as a young woman but by no means all of what it means to be the unique young woman that you are) is closer to me than my next breath. “God, where are you?” is not a question that I need to ask, or have ever asked (as far as I can remember).

There are twin days for me in my yearly calendar, Halloween and the following day, All Saints Day. They both, in my mind and theology, are complimentary days where we are reminded of the souls and spirits of those who have passed on before us. And perhaps also of entities that have not died and risen to new life but that have just simply (?) existed in the spirit world all along. I enjoy celebrating and acknowledging each of the days while at the same time not being interested at all in trying to contact souls or spirits in that other realm. (The Church celebrates two days, All Saints Day and the following day, All Souls Day. I prefer to transfer All Souls Day to Halloween. It fits me and the days better.)

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