He sat most days in an oak prairie styled rocking chair close to the window. He held a huge magnifying glass and a large print Bible so close to his face that all I could see was his beautiful white wavy hair peering into the book from the top of his head. He had been blinded by a barbed wire fencing accident and glaucoma had set in years later. He read the prophets and talked of the Holy Ghost who came to him.
I loved my Grandfather, but I was frightened of his holy ghost. Before the glaucoma took over, I often went across the street to my grandparent’s home and played dominoes and drank lemonade. It was delightful. Even if he was winning, I somehow came out the winner at the end of the game. Subtle humor and warm smiles filled his presence and our game. I was relieved that his holy ghost didn’t seem to like to play dominoes.
For years, I ran and didn’t want anything to do with my grandfather’s holy ghost, but I couldn’t leave the memories of our dominoes games. Might the Holy Spirit have been present there, I wondered?
Now, 54 years after his death, I have come to see the power and the freedom of the Holy Spirit to show up wherever and however and to whomever She chooses.
I still wonder about my grandfather’s “mystical” experiences, but those were his and not mine to experience. But I know I experienced his love, acceptance, and warmth. The Holy Spirit? I think so.
In Acts we read the powerful story of the 1st Pentecost. I wonder where I would have been in that scene. It was dramatic. It was “out of control.” It came as a surprise. It captured the hearts of the unexpected. It invaded the community as well as engaging each person. Was it really scary? Did it feel like warm arms to anyone? It was mysterious. It was not measurable. It was not definable. It simply was. It was there. It happened.
In what ways does the Holy Spirit come to you? May we be open and willing to receive the Holy Spirit in the many weeks of the Season of Pentecost.
Jolene Bergstrom Carlson