Lawson writes . . . sharing thoughts and memories

July 14, 2011

Mule Ghost

Filed under: Uncategorized — lawsonjolly @ 5:00 am

Boyhood adventures are seldom forgotten.  Those that seem to stay in my memory most are times that had some real emotions involved.  And the emotion of fear cements certain events in my memory.

One such event occurred when I was about 10 or 11 years of age.  There was a rumor among the kids in town that a certain barn close to the mountain was haunted.  Some of us talked about it often — even joking about it! We didn’t really believe in a haunted barn, but we also did not want to doubt what we had heard.

So one afternoon after much talk about it, someone put out that word, “Dare you!”  Now no young boy is going to resist a dare, even if he is scared.  After all, manhood rides on courage.  So after we all dared each other several times, we determined to visit that old barn and find out the truth.

We walked to the field around the mountain.  Several hundred yards from the barn, we huddled to plan our strategy.  I don’t remember all the details, but I believe that we drew straws to select the two who would go to the barn while the others waited and watched.  I believe there was even a plan for those watching to go for help if the two did not return!

There were four of us.  That meant two would investigate and two would  stand guard and watch.  Guess who got one of the short straws?  I hadn’t expected this.  Besides, it was not really my idea . . . I was only there because of the dare and the fact that I felt there was safety in numbers.

With my fellow investigator, we began to move slowly toward the barn.  There was tall grass and I recall stopping every few yards and kneeling down in the grass so we wouldn’t be seen by . . .  whatever was in the barn!  Within about a fifty yards of the barn, we laid prostrate on the ground.  I believe fear had so gripped us that we could not move.  I really don’t think we had the courage to go into that barn.

We could hear the “safe” guys yelling at us to go on.  Sure, it is easy to be brave from a distance!  I was thinking they needed to come take our place if they were so brave!  I remember so many fears at that moment.  I would have called others “chicken.”  And I was chicken.  I really had no intention of advancing any closer to that barn.  But I did not know how I could back away.  But I was sure I would not go any further.

Before I could finish my mental gymnastics of how to retreat without being ridiculed,  the barn door began to open.  It was slow, but it was opening.  First one side of the double door opened a few feet, and then the other door began to open.  My comrade and I looked at each other.  We didn’t know whether to run or stay hidden.  The other fellows were seeing it also . . . and now they are quiet!

We were confident the barn was haunted.  After all, you don’t see ghost!  The ghost, or the ghosts, must have come through those doors . . . that is why they opened!  We couldn’t think or we would have realized that the ghosts could have come out of the barn without opening the doors.  So why did the doors open?  What is in the barn?  Do the open doors indicate an invitation to us to come in?

With all the myriad of thoughts at that moment . . . our eyes suddenly beheld a sight!  It petrified us!  It was a ghost . . . and it was white!  But it is a mule!  Yes, a white mule came walking out of that barn!  Well, that was confirmation to us that it was haunted.  Who ever heard of a white mule?  Oh, we had seen some grey mules . . . but white!  Only a mule ghost would be white!

We laid there a few moments . . . and then realized that the mule was walking toward us.  We were fast . . . and when you are real scared, you can run even faster.  We must have been confident we could out run that mule ghost.  I don’t even remember seeing the two friends that had stood guard.  We either passed them or they had already taken off. I don’t even recall when we  regrouped.

We could never explain this phenomenal.  Why the doors opened! Why a mule was in that barn! And why a white mule even existed!  We didn’t have answers — one reason was that we were out of there so fast!

Of course, it was not a mule ghost.  But we did have a story to tell.  The story was our version.  It was a story of our bravery and investigating the barn!  After that, no one ever considered going to the barn.

Our adventure team knew the truth.  We did discuss the event and knew that it was a real mule and not a ghost.  But in that moment of fear, we jumped to a conclusion.  There are white mules — they are less common than others, but they do exist.

Perhaps the conclusion we jumped to because of a fear is a paraphrase on what many of us do.  We face some situation that causes us to fear, i.e., a doctor’s report, etc.  Then from fear we  begin to project all the possibilities.  We jump to conclusions that are not factual.  We see the ghost mule!  And then we worry . . . we are strapped with fear . . . . we lose sleep . . . we can’t get anything done because we are consumed by our fear.

God can be our source of courage.  He does not want us to live gripped by fear.  He can dispel our fears.  Why not turn to him rather than jumping to conclusions?

“For God did not give us the spirit of fear, but a spirit of power . . . .”  (2 Timothy 1:7)  “In God I trust; I will not be afraid  . . . .”  (Psalm 56:11)



1 Comment »

  1. Hi Bro Jolly: Your wonderful story made me laugh….of lots of my past fears. But it also made me think of many things in my past that the Lord gave me power to overcome those fears. I think that little boys have more imaginations than girls, but we all have those fears in life. Thank you for your reminder of the power of the Lord to overcome!

    Comment by Doris — July 15, 2011 @ 4:27 pm | Reply

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