“Ghosts are a metaphor for memory and remembrance and metaphorically connect our world to the world we cannot know about.”- Leslie What, interview, June 2002
I treated myself to a visit to the newly redesigned Virginia Museum of Fine Art recently. My visit was specifically intended to view the largest collection of Faberge Eggs outside Russia. The life and tragedy of Russia’s royal family during the early 20th century is fascinating. The Faberge display was all I expected and more.
Across from the twinkling and stunning Faberge exhibit was a sobbering collection of Medieval and Byzantine Art. Wood and stone icons of Mary, Jesus and the Apostles and all manner of Saints filled the quiet gallery. Figures from altarpieces; St John the Baptist, the Virgin and Child, Saint Gregory, stared down on visitors. Light streamed from a stained glass window from Christ Church in Canterberry. The display was breathtaking and beautifully and respectfully arranged.
Walking slowly through the gallery, I felt not only the eyes of Saints and Holy ones upon me, but ghosts as well. I imagined being accompanied on my tour by parishioners and worshippers who prayed in front of these icons in medieval Europe for the safety and security of loved ones. The human spirits of those who knelt and begged for miracles were keenly and intimately near.
The world we cannot know is populated by spirits who have crossed over, the souls of departed loved ones. But there are those whose restlessness of heart denies them the peace of heaven. Those ghosts become the fabric of malevolent tales and scary stories.
Ghosts don’t have to be dead. Sometimes a ghost arises from our past, its eery spectral tendrils seeping into our daily life. A ghost is an unpleasant remembrance, an embarrassing moment, a heart wrenching decision.
Carefully look for ghosts today and develop a way of dealing with them. To deny there are ghosts is to deny there is a time other than this living one. We all want to believe there is something beyond, something glorious and gleaming and good on the other side of life.
A specter can educate and illuminate or bring chaos. Most ghosts have both abilities. Pay attention to the glimmer of the universe today and understand ghosts are accompanying you daily. Should you chose to engage one, listen well….and learn.