Don’t keep dragging the dead into your life.
In episode three of Charlotte, we’re introduced to a delinquent named Sho, who is unable to let go of Misa, a recently deceased girl who takes over the consciousness of her little sister’s body. At the end of the episode, after Nao and the rest of the student council help Misa get her idol sister out of a difficult situation, the deceased girl says goodbye to her former comrade with those words I quoted above.
The episode wasn’t particularly emotional to me. I can’t help but compare Charlotte to Angel Beats!, where it’s characters suffered through traumatizing experiences (Yuri and Iwasawa come to mind), and the situations we’ve seen in the last two episodes can’t compare. But then again, I haven’t experienced the death of anyone intimately close to me, and I wonder if the episode was more meaningful to people who have, and particularly when hearing those words – “don’t keep dragging the dead into your life.”
Our loved ones can haunt our presents through the specter of what was, what could be, and what should have been. But surely for most that have experienced loss, they can at least believe that their loved one would want them to move forward, and Misa does with Sho. They would want to see their loved ones move on and thrive.
But our pasts – they often aren’t so kind. When one comes to Christ, saved and transformed through grace, it’s not always flowers and butterflies. The past sometimes protrudes into the present as we fight against the flesh and those things that can weigh us down – whether it’s guilt, habits, addictions, or people. And these items are not likely to let us go on their own – we have to be the ones, empowered by the Holy Spirit, to end this dragging of the dead into our lives.
Unfortunately, in our pride, we sometimes think we can go it alone. Our wisdom and actions are so important, but so, too, is all that which has been given to us by God. We avoid scripture because we find it boring; yet in it are the words of life. We don’t pray because we find it of little use; yet Christ himself came to his Father in prayer frequently. And we miss church because we can’t find the “right fit,” but Paul makes it abundantly clear that the Christian life is lived in community.
The dead aren’t always dead and gone; but they can and should be. And if for you they are not, even after turning to Christ, maybe it’s an issue of obedience and surrender. If you trust God with faith and obedience, the promise is clear – you will be transformed, even if bit by bit. And in doing so, you’ll finally stop bringing out the dead.