The Witching Hour
By Jacob Hatcher
We were sitting on the couch when our five-year-old emerged from his room and said, “My friend said that ghosts come out at three in the morning, but I know ghosts aren’t real.” I gave him a quick hug, assured him that his friend was just being silly and sent him back to bed. As I laid in bed later, though, it occurred to me that I hadn’t quite been honest with him.
The reality is, as much as we try to suppress them, there are all kinds of ghosts lurking in the shadows. There’s the ghost of Dreams That Didn’t Come True, for instance. He comes out after a stressful day at work. On days when we really miss those that we’ve lost, there’s Things I Wish I’d Said; on the really dark days, Things I Wish I Hadn’t Said make an appearance.
Whenever I drive by an old farmhouse, I am haunted by those that came before me; through the broken windows I see the mirage of a family eating supper after a long day in the fields. From time to time I open Mama’s metronome and a chill goes up my spine. If I’m quiet enough, I can hear faint piano notes whispering in the air. And when the fog’s just right, I could swear I see Grandaddy’s boat out there on the water.
The truth is, we’ve all got ghosts that come out every once in a while. Some of them are frightening, while others bring us comfort. They’re the spirits we have to wrestle with every day. As I laid there in the dark, I wondered what ghosts would visit my children. I prayed that, when they’re older, they would only be visited by good ghosts. I prayed they’d be haunted by ghosts of laughter and joy. I hoped their ghosts would remind them of how loved they are, but their parents and their Father.
Whether that comes true remains to be seen. Either way, the clock just struck three; I should probably get some sleep.