Saturday, 31 October 2015

The premise of a ghost story

There is much that could be said about Halloween and the merits of trick or treating. Do I open the door or not? Are those that celebrate Halloween opening the doors to more than the unsuspecting little old lady sat on her own on a cold night in October? I will leave you to do your own pondering.

Yesterday I watched a film about a ghost. I don't normally watch such things but it was a very tame afternoon film so I felt safe in the knowledge that there would be no spinning heads, exorcisms, or the need to hide behind the sofa. To be frank Dr Who is more scary. I only mention spinning heads as I frightened myself half to death by watching 'The Evil Dead' when I was about 10 years old. A school friend thought it was a good idea. A few sleepless nights later we both regretted our decision. Anyway, I digress...

Yesterday's film and indeed the premise of many a ghost story is the thought that the 'ghost' is someone who is stuck at that mid-way point between the here and now and the afterlife. The afterlife normally being some kind of 'heaven'. hell of course can also be mentioned in said films, but we won't go there today. In the film it turns out that our ghost, 'Clive', is stuck from moving on because on Halloween and his daughters 18th birthday he made her choose between him and her boyfriend. She chose the boyfriend and eloped to be married. They never spoke from that moment on. Clive the ghost had been scaring the residence of 'his' house ever since. To cut a long story short it ends happily ever-after and his daughter comes to the house and is given the letter that Clive wrote saying he was sorry for what he did. 

The trouble with the story is that actually we don't get a second chance after we have died (but there are plenty of second chances before our final breath). I wonder how many folk have died wishing 'if only', if only they had said, 'sorry', or done something different. Life can be full of regrets, regrets that alas die with us. We may have a chance on our death-bed to say sorry to God and to perhaps try to find reconciliation with our loved ones but there is no guarantee. Who knows how death will come to us. I feel like the Grim Reaper saying such things but that is the fact of the matter. 

Reconciliation with friends and family is not always possible and perhaps we have to live with that. We can ask for forgiveness or long for the other party to ask our forgiveness but we might not reach that point. Should that stop us from seeking reconciliation? No. If we at least reach out the hand of forgiveness then we have perhaps done our bit. I say perhaps as relationships and situations are complicated and I am not an expert.

We may have to resolve ourselves with the prospect of dying without the happy ever-after music playing in the background but I believe we can still die peacefully. To die peacefully, at least for me, is to die knowing Jesus as my Lord and Saviour and getting right with him. Life has many twists and turns but God continues to offer us his love and his grace and his forgiveness. 

We can focus on the dead and amuse ourselves with dressing up as zombies and witches but perhaps there are more important things in the here and now that need addressing, not least our relationship with God.