I believe this week might be the perfect time to share a tale of a ghostly encounter! I mentioned something in a previous post about how my mom has always liked to be a little mischievous and give us a good scare from time to time. She was no respecter of persons either. She has gotten all of us, from my dad, to my brothers and myself, to the grand children. It could sometimes get a little chaotic if we were not paying attention.
I am sure we will never know all the times she got my dad, but one of her favorite was the time she nearly stopped him from sneaking to bed before her. They both (yes, both) snored, so they made it a game to see if one could get into bed and asleep before the other.
She knew that dad would try to sneak to bed before her. They had this little wooden snake that had been all over and had caused quite a few to take pause. She had planned this one all day. As she was making the bed, she hid the snake under the blanket on his pillow. That evening, as she suspected, he sneaked to the back of the house, aiming for those first “Z’s.”
She followed him quietly. He went into the bedroom and closed the door. She went over and cracked it ever so slightly, just enough that she could see him. He went over to his side of the bed and rolled down the covers. When he saw the snake, she said he shivered and an,”Ooooohh” emanated from him. She got him.
The grand babies, ah the grand babies, they were, and still are, always on her radar. Mostly with them though, it was jumping out from strategic locations and giving them a good scare. Heck, they got off easy!
Her most famous scaring exploit was one October evening, when the air was crisp and cool and the days were shorter, so it became dark earlier.
We spent most Sunday afternoons at my grandparents house. This particular Sunday evening, we had just gotten home and it was already getting dark. My parents had forgotten to get the Sunday paper as they came by the box, so they sent my older brother (Jimmy) and my uncle (Dwayne) over to get the paper. They were probably about nine and ten years old at the time.
As I have mentioned before, we lived in a small house on my great-grandparents farm. It was off the main road. You had to go down this alley way that led into a flat bottom, and then across “the scary bridge” to get to our houses. It was pretty dark, as the only street light was over on the main road at the top of the hill.
So the boys put on their jackets and headed out through the yard and across the scary bridge.
The boys made the trip across the scary bridge, along the alley way and up the hill to the main road, where the mail and paper boxes were. They snagged the paper and were headed back to the house. They were laughing and talking as they came back across the scary bridge in the deep dark, with the dim glow of a flashlight guiding their way.
When they were almost at the end of the bridge, they heard a barely discernible, “OOOooooooohhhh.” They paused and the sound got louder. “Booooooooooo. Ooooohh.” It got louder again and they saw a white form floating at them from within the garage. They were both terrified! Then the form started moving quickly with the “Whoooooooooing” getting louder as it came toward them. Complete chaos ensued!!
My uncle could always run fast. This time, he took off and left my brother in the dust. He had to have hurtled my mom’s car to get to my great grandparent’s house next door. He was inside the house in a flash.
My poor brother was left all alone to get through our yard to the back of the house. Bless his heart, he ran for his life, screaming all the way, to get to the back door. He busted in the door like a crazed person. He was screaming and crying and shaking. My dad had to grab him and hold him to get him to stand still. He was so scared that he couldn’t even get I the words out.
Finally he got out one word….ghost. My poor dad did not know what was going on.
About that time, my mom came (sheepishly) in the door, white sheet in hand. Unknown to anyone else (especially my dad), my mom had grabbed a sheet and went out after the boys. There was an open, single car garage right at the end of the scary bridge on our side of the creek where my great-grandfather parked his truck. Mom hid in the garage and waited. When they got near the end of the bridge, she began her ghostly meandering. Oh my, was it ever effective!
I don’t really think she thought about how effective an unexpected apparition would be. My poor brother was terrified and my dad was so mad at her!
For my brother and my uncle, and even my dad, that was a moment of confusion, excitement, agitation – chaos. Out of nowhere, in the still of the night, suddenly came a tempest, a storm of emotion.
Recently I was reminded of the One that can calm the storm. Sunday mornings are interesting for me. I am currently teaching a middle school Sunday school class. Middle schoolers are breed all their own. They are at the age where either they will communicate with you as an adult, they will mumble a few audible words from time to time, or they just sit and look at you in silence (like, “You don’t really want me to answer that question, do you?”)
While teaching my middle school Sunday school lesson recently, I wrote something on the board that spoke to me, even if it did not speak to the middle schoolers. It was, “Jesus Calms the Chaos of the Storm.” The more I think about it, the more I think it may have been meant for a much older audience. The lesson was from Mark 4:35 – 41, where Jesus “spoke” the chaos of the moment away.
The chaos was very real for the disciples. They were in a storm in the middle of the sea. They were working hard to stay afloat. At the same time they were experiencing this crisis, Jesus was asleep in the back of the boat; with His head on a cushion even. The wind was blowing and the waves were crashing over them, yet, Jesus was calmly sleeping.
The situation was perilous. The storm was loud and raging. It was wet and probably cold and battering them incessant. They were surrounded by the darkness that comes with a storm of night. The fear of death was very real to them. Finally, (finally) (Did I say, “Finally?”) after battling the chaos on their own, they called out to Jesus. Jesus did what He does, He spoke, and the storm ceased. The winds stopped. The waves quieted. Their vision was restored, and their fear of certain death was eased. All they had to do was ask.
Right now, our nation is engulfed in a great storm. We are suffering through visions of chaos on all sides. We have the same fears as the disciples. Is the storm going to engulf us? The harder we battle, the more fierce it becomes. The waves of evil are crashing over us. Darkness is threatening to consume us completely, and the death of life as we now know it is looming just ahead of us. Just like the disciples in that boat on that dark, stormy night, there is an answer to the chaos surrounding us. The tried and true, always the right answer, is Jesus Christ. We need to call out to Him to speak peace into the storm. Obviously, we are not doing a very good job trying to battle it on our own.
Our current crisis is not caused by people. Although, they are a pawn used for that purpose. The crisis is an unearthly chaos that is caused by powers that we cannot fathom. Let’s look to God for the peace and the quiet that only He can bring. We have deliberately placed Him in the stern of the ship and have requested him to sleep (and let us handle it) for much too long now. Let’s join together to collectively ask Him to quiet the unearthly chaos for us… for our families… for our neighborhoods… for our nation… and for our world.
“Call to Me, and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things, which you do not know.” ~~ Jeremiah 33:3, NKJV
“When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought joy to my soul.” ~~ Psalm 94:19 NIV