The book I am reading at the moment is set in Florence. It is by Marco Vichi and is one of a series of detective stories featuring Inspector Bordelli. The title is ‘Ghosts of the Past’. The story is told through the telling of little stories, some sad, some deeply moving, others offering signs of hope. It is like following a meandering path through the past, via the memories of the characters. Bordelli is grieving the loss of a love a year ago, and wondering if he will ever see her again. He is also enjoying discovering the poetry of his mother which had been unknown to him. Meanwhile the attempts to solve the latest murder seem to be going nowhere. Some ghosts are friendly others mysterious, others frightening.
Some of my own ghosts have come back this week and made me think about the influence that we have on other people, perhaps not always realising what those effects have been.
I was prompted by an invitation to remember some of the work I did in helping people to learn about themselves and their faith. This was in the days before on-line learning and the internet of things! Then it was producing printed resources in the form of ring binders, or events at conferences, like those at the Windermere Centre. Who knows what effects they had. They were nearly always enjoyable, collaborative and participatory. But they seem a long time ago, in the mists of a past life.
My role as Trustee of late has been challenging because of ghosts of things left undone. Trying to trace the sequence of events and untangle the complex regulations has been like walking through cobwebs in a dark alleyway. Thankfully, some light is beginning to appear and others are also working to find a way ahead.
Both of these seemed to come together in a dream the other night. I was present in a large old Presbyterian Church, for a service which was surprisingly lively and all age. I am not at all sure what my role was but I walked away afterwards with a spring in my step and a sense of thankfulness.
Ghosts of a different kind appeared in the music and songs of Kathryn Tickell and the Darkening when I heard and saw them at The Stables. Hollowbones is the title of the CD. One song, Holywell, is based on the story of Kathryn’s Dad trying to listen to the music coming out of the air at the site of a deep dark pool after a good friend had died. Ghosts of times past in the pit (coal mine) also featured. It was a pleasant experience; an enjoyment of memories.
When we are ghosts of the past, will we be inspirations or scary warnings?