Spirit Running Wild

In grade school, at the beginning of each day, our teacher would take attendance. After we took our seats, she would open her attendance book and call out each student’s name in alphabetical order. When we heard our name, we answered, “Here!”

Since that time, I’ve discovered that loved ones don’t have to be “Here” to be present. 

I once read some indigenous N. American cultures believe a person’s spirit does not pass into the next world as long as anyone who actually knew them is still alive. They believe everyone becomes a part of anyone they touch, and as such, their spirit remains with them for the rest of their life. 

It’s a beautiful sentiment, and for all I can tell, it is true. 

This year we lost our good friend Doug, a person of great spirit.

It’s common when someone passes away to hear people say they simply can’t believe they are gone. Doug’s case was entirely different.

What I feel, along with many others, is that he is still here. 

When preparing dinner, I expect Doug to walk in the door with a tasty dessert and a couple bottles of red wine. 

Doug was a great musician; two CD’s of his original songs were professionally recorded. One of his songs came up on my Spotify playlist the other day, and I almost offered to refresh his glass, thinking he was playing his guitar in the next room. 

Doug was a natural entertainer. He never showed up to a party without his guitar. Doug didn’t so much play songs as engage everyone in song, often stopping at a chorus so others could join in. If they didn’t, he would say “common” in a high Scottish lilt with a twinkling eye. No one could resist.

Every morning I read Fr. Richard Rohr’s blog. Recently he wrote:

“We respond to one another’s energy more than to people’s exact words or actions. In any situation, the taking or giving of energy is what we are actually doing.” 

What a gift it is to know someone who builds rather than saps our energy. Doug gave his energy to everyone he met; our lives were enriched as a result.

Shortly after his passing, I told our friend Mary about the uncanny feeling I had of Doug still being here. Mary is a wise soul, and her reply clarified things for me.

She said, “Doug’s spirit is huge. It used to be trapped in his body, but now it is running wild!”

Spirit running wild!

I love that! 

We are more than molecules. Life is more than physical form. To doubt this is to not have known anyone like Doug.


Fundamental Principle: Bringing mind, body, and spirit into balance.

A Question To Consider: How can you set your spirit free? 

More information including background principles, suggested reading, and a library of previous posts can be found at http://tim-coats.com

9 Replies to “Spirit Running Wild”

  1. I think our tears and our smiles also hold spirit energy, and in reading this tribute to Doug the tears are flowing and the smile is broad. Thank you, Tim. Somewhere in this great universe Doug has that guitar singing strongly and wildly.


  2. Frequently this kind of presence of which you speak has overcome me like an open palm pressing firmly against my chest. Other times it is as if an awareness of the person so clouds my own thoughts that little room remains for my own thinking. Some might dismiss these experiences as fanciful. To me they are as real as a deep and refreshing breath. Thank you for your inspiring words.


  3. I’ve been listening to Doug’s CD and had a tear roll down my cheek along with a huge smile on my face. What a life force! Cheers to you for capturing a bit of it in this post!


  4. Energy—Spirit—Presence both physical and metaphysical—Voices—-The Smile—-The Calming Feeling—The Laughter and so much more……

    Every time I accidentally come across “my mother’s personal handwriting” in an old card or in an old recipe or in an old letter or list of things——All those energy fields listed above come to life and fill my being.

    One’s mortal body might be gone, but the immortal soul continues on.


  5. Are you talking about Doug Bethune? A lot of what you say fits. Please let me know. He was a fellow Pillsburado. By the way, another way of people living on is the belief that people die 4 times. The first is when your heart stops. The second is at your funeral. The third is when you are buried or cremated. The last time you die is when people stop talking about you. My daughter Stephanie died 11 years ago and we are still talking about her all the time.


    1. Yeah Bill…a dear friend. We often played music together around campfires at our cabin. He was a very dear friend. Thanks for your comment. Nothing can be harder than losing a child.


  6. it gives me great satisfaction in knowing that my legacy is in the dna of my children, grandchildren and great grandchildren.Helen my dear wife shares no dna but by osmosis knows more of me and and after 61 yrs of marriage has stuck by me and will always be part of my legacy !


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