I walked out into the garage and raised the garage door. It was already dark, and the rain had not let up. It was the perfect, spooky October night. I opened the back door of my car and placed my travel bags into the backseat. Then, I heard the sound of metal dragging across the asphalt of my driveway. I absolutely did not want to look up and see what was responsible for the eerie sound. But I looked anyway
Sure enough, like a scene from a horror movie, I observed the last bit of a large chain being drug directly in front of my open garage, within two feet of the back of my car. I learned something about myself that night. I learned that although I would like to believe that I am a ninja, I am in fact not. I froze. I also learned that no matter how much I try to hide from my ghosts, ultimately, I will have to face them. I also learned that my ghosts are probably much worse in my mind than they are in real life.
My ghost on that evening turned out to be the neighbor’s husky who had broken his chain. He came in search of treats that I had been giving him when he ‘visited’ before. I walked him back to the neighbor’s home feeling significant relief.
Ghosts come in many forms and sometimes we feed them. We may think that we are investing time and energy into hobbies or careers, when we are actually practicing avoidance. Some things are unbelievably painful, but when we continually neglect to face them, we allow them to grow. Then, those ghosts turn up when weather conditions are miserable- dragging their chains with them!
We may never be able to eradicate the ghosts in our pasts. It’s not fair and it’s not easy. It is, however, our responsibility to deal with them. I loved on the neighbor’s dog that night. I wasn’t happy that he had scared me, but I came to terms with the fact that he was there. And he was not the monster I had created in my mind at all.
Sometimes depression and anxiety don’t look like what we expect. Sometimes depression wears a pretty face and a smile. Anxiety doesn’t always look like doing nothing, sometimes it looks like working too much, talking too much and thinking too much. It looks a lot like a chain being pulled across a driveway.
When faced with out ghosts, we can fight, we can flee, or we can freeze. It’s important to arm ourselves with what we need for battle because our grief, our guilt and our fear will find us when we least expect it. The Bible teaches us to “Put on the whole armor of God…” (Ephesians 6:11, ESV). By trusting in God, we can find comfort and peace. We can claim strength through the name of JESUS. We can recognize that we ALL are running from or fighting with ghosts. We are all in battle.
Let us all seek to encourage one another, pray for one another and love one another. Let’s not be a part of the chain, but instead let us be the happy, adventurous puppy at the end of it. Let’s live our lives so that when others are faced with their ghosts, they are relieved to see us.