THE HAUNTING PATH TO HOLINESS
Horror writer Shirley Jackson isn’t for everyone. Her maternal insight into the world of children and family dynamics adds a wry and charming note to her stories, which is why she inspired the career of domestic humorist Erma Bombeck. However, Jackson couples this domestic genius with a cold-eyed appraisal of the potential for human malice—which also inspired the career of the prince of gothic nightmares, Stephen King.
Jackson gets one thing absolutely right. A lot of homes are haunted, and not necessarily by the dead. We the living often choose to haunt ourselves: replaying old grievances, reopening old wounds, rehearsing old disappointments. In Jackson’s masterpiece “The Haunting of Hill House,” (adapted for the screen three times and most brilliantly in a ten-part series by Netflix), an emotionally tormented set of siblings receive an apparition of their long-neglected dead sister. Immediately they each begin to stammer regrets for the way they treated her when she was among them. The apparition shakes her head and smiles with the wise perspective of eternity. “I love you completely,” she declares, “You love me completely. The rest is just confetti.”
The key to unlocking any haunted house is the same: forgiveness. If the past is suffocating the present, if resentment and regret are disabling hope, the power to forgive springs us from the trap of bitter memories. The most haunted house can become a holy house with the healing balm of forgiveness. The rest is just confetti, if we only let it go.
reprinted with permission from TrueQuest Communications