Why I don’t laugh at his ghost stories


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“Mama,” he said to me, snuggled in with a ragged sheepskin, soccer ball, dinosaur and who knows what else under his blanket, “I saw ghost at the park today.”
“A ghost?” I replied, smiling. “Aw. What was it like?”
“He was very big. He was not happy. He was not kind.”
“Oh. What did you do, how did you feel?”
I am happy. Jesus, the God, He did this!” and he motioned a rousing punch into the face of the ghost.
“Wow….”

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Knightley shared that first story more than three months ago. Since that evening, there have been more than twenty unique stories based on interactions with the characters he sees. There are differences in descriptors: either they are happy and kind, or not happy, not kind. They differ in age from non-descript to very old. They have been child-like, grandfatherly, and obscure (“and then the donkey turned into the lion!”). And, except for one interaction, they are seen without fear.

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As he shares these stories I can accept that they are simply the overflow of a beautifully creative mind. Knightley is exceptionally imaginative. His ability to play alone, coupled with his desire to draw us into stories, has been a source of pleasure and laughter for quite some time. He turns three years old today and his creative mind is alive and well.

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As he shares these stories, these conversations, and weaves mind with Sight, and imagination with earth, I have examined my responses. Am I inviting him to speak falsely? Am I indulging an overactive imagination?

Early in the summer, in the first week of these interactions, he refused to wear shoes on his way to the park. “Mama, there’s the ghost at that park. He said, ‘You take off your shoes!’” So, Knight’ went without shoes and insisted on doing so for weeks after. {He also drew a picture of that particular ghost}. He wasn’t frightened or concerned, it seemed to him that this character had made a logical request and so he obeyed. The lingering thought in my mind was that a burning bush commanded Moses to remove his shoes, so why would I question such an interaction with a son of today…?
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That week, a friend of my heart and guardian of the boys wrote:

“I was thinking about the ghost picture Knightley drew and the Lord brought to mind Acts 7 and these verses jumped out at me:
At that time Moses was born, and he was no ordinary child, For three months he was cared for by his family. 21 When he was placed outside, Pharaoh’s daughter took him and brought him up as her own son. 22 Moses was educated in all the wisdom of the Egyptians and was powerful in speech and action.’
Knightley is no ordinary child. Be prepared for what God has in store.”

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I continue to speak aloud that Knightley has a beautifully unique imagination. He is creative and insightful and hilarious.

However…
I do not laugh at his ghost stories.
I will not tell him that he’s just been silly.
I can not tell him that what he sees is not real.
And,
I have no plans of praying anything out of or away from him.
We do not fear.
He is, consistently, protected and present with The Lion, who is so present in these stories.
And he is listening…and watching…and walking…

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Knightley treads this town with a quiet and open confidence. Yes, he’s three. He’s still all kinds of ridiculous. He can throw a fit scarier than any ghost and he can weave a tale and a snuggle to soften the hardest of hearts. But his stories and Sight exist in restful expectation, certain of something I have not seen.

For this, his third year, I will continue to listen.

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