Saturday, January 7, 2012

When I was Asked to Kill the Ghost in our Basement.

"Mommy, will you come kill the ghost for me?"

"What?  What are you talking about?"
  I looked down at my knee-high two year old 
and wondered where she came up with this one.
  Kill a ghost?

Kill a spider.  Yes, I had done that for her plenty.
Kill stink bugs: she's terrified of them for some reason.
I have even killed a few fast-moving centipedes,
but a ghost?

How does a mother kill a ghost?

Yet, I'd heard her ask this request several times in the past week.

Usually, something else came up that interupted.

Every time I would tell her to go get her coat so she could go outside with the others,
she would remind me of the ghost in the basement,
that she was scared to go down there.
"This is Levi's fault," I would mutter.
He never seemed to be around when the conversation about the ghost in the basement came up,
but I just knew it had to have something to do with him.

He is in the stage where scary things intrigue him:
sharks, dinosaurs, dragons, giant squid, octopus, spiders
he can't seem to get enough of learning about them.
When Halloween came around this past fall,
he was fully aware of the ghost forms he would see on shopping trips,
and a discussion or two erupted about ghosts.

One day, we read a verse in the Bible about the Holy Ghost,
and he discovered that even the Bible has a ghost in it,
and he enjoyed the fact that there is a Holy Ghost that is a good ghost.

But it wasn't the Holy Ghost that Lillie spoke of in the basement.


It's a big word.
We all face it.

Fear has the power to conquer the mightiest man,
weaken the strongest heart,
trip up the smartest brain.
I think of Elijah running from Ahab.
David from Saul.

It has the power to drain a life of all joy.


My farmer worked long hours when we were first married.
We were scrimping and saving for a bigger farm then;
we didn't have cell phones.
I limited calls to my mother to once a week
because it was too expensive to make long distance calls.

I was alone a lot;

well, except for the dog.
I listened to a lot of books on tape those years,
kept up with all the sermons from my old church
because a sweet older lady took the time to send tapes to me every week.
I spent endless hours out in our small barn painting furniture
and crafts to sell.

But when the night came
and my Farmer had to stay late to get the crops in on the farm he worked for,
I often got a bit afraid.

It was numbing, feeling like every noise was a possible something 
or someone.

It was exhausting.

Then one day,
my husband didn't call when he was late.
It got to be 10pm, and he usually always called me by 8
to let me know he'd be late.

Fear set in.
I paced.
I cried.
I worried.

None of it did any good.

Then, around 10:30,
he finally called me.
My fear turned to anger.

I was so furious that he had caused me so much fear,
I ran outside and walked all around our small farm.

Normally, I would never set foot outside at night.
I was afraid of being out there in the dark alone;
but now, I didn't care.
I was too mad to care.
I felt the cool air on my hot face,
looked up at the stars,
felt the damp grass between my bare toes.

It was invigorating.
But it wasn't only the physical things that I felt.
It was the feeling of no fear.
It was gone.
I was walking free, outside in the dark,
a place where I would never have dreamed of being before,
and I wasn't afraid.

It was a moment where I could have started twirling and singing,
"The hills are alive..."
but as it was late
and the neighbors were sleeping,
I refrained from frightening them.

When my husband came home,
I was out behind the garden.
He didn't see me,
and I suddenly got an idea.
I sat down behind the cornstalks,
and watched him.

The kitchen light was on as he went in the house.

I saw the living room light go on.
Then the hallway.
Then the bedrooms.

Now, the fear I'd felt
that had turned to exhilaration out in the field,
turned into hilarity.

Suddenly the door flew open again,
and there he was standing on the porch,
calling my name.

I waited, just for about 15 seconds
til he called me again;
I could hear a slight sense of panic in his voice.

I realized that this was now bordering on cruelty,
so I called to him.

He always called me after that night to let me know when he would be late.


She grabbed my hand in her little one and walked me back toward the back of the basement
where I kept the clothes racks to dry the clothes.

Then I saw what she was pointing to
and a chuckle slipped out.

"Kill the ghost, Mommy.
I don't like it."

I realized much of life is like this.
We fear the ghosts that don't exist.
There is so much in life to worry about: 
our families,
our health,
our children's futures,
our finances,
our frustrations,

our government,

our world.

We can so easily become a ball of ineffective twisted up fear.

God's love vanquishes fear.
"...perfect love casteth out fear:
because fear hath torment..."
I John 4:18

I hugged her and told her it wasn't a ghost,
and said, as I imagined
God might do when we turn and ask His help
to kill our ghosts of fear,
"Come, see.
Come face your fears and see that it isn't real.
And if it were really something to be afraid of,
I am here with you.


  1. Good job! Most of us have experienced this and you put it into word perfectly! Thanks for sharing!

  2. Nothing more to say! I loved it.


  3. I really enjoyed this post. Great lesson written in a suspenseful story.

  4. Love it! Just what I needed to hear. Been putting off an MRI of my abdomen for 5 months because I am paralyzed by fear everytime I think about what the results might be. I have had severe stomach pains all weekend and put off the ER for fear. Going to the doctor this week.


  5. Very nice.

    and Amber, we'll all be with you in spirit when you go in for the MRI. I like to think about whales during the test but you could ask for music instead.

  6. A brilliant, thought-provoking post and I love your comment above about the smiles- it's made me smile too-it's catching!
    I host a linky and would love it if you popped over and linked this post! It would be great to introduce your blog to my readership! Seasonal Celebration Linky Thank you :-).


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