I don’t normally disagree with Dear Abby, but today I must.
DEAR ABBY: “Lights Out in Federal Way, Wash.” (Aug. 13) asked if it was a “sign” that her deceased parents were watching over her when streetlights would go out as she drove under them on her way home.
I understand your desire to give encouragement to someone who has lost her loved ones, but don’t you know that many streetlights are light-activated so that after headlights hit them in just the right way they will turn off? After you pass under them, it becomes dark enough again and they will turn back on within a few minutes.
While I’m sure that given the opportunity this girl’s parents would watch over her, the streetlights she described have nothing to do with the paranormal but have a scientific and logical explanation. — SOMEONE’S WATCHING IN GUILFORD, MO.
DEAR WATCHING: While many readers shared similar experiences, the majority had a logical explanation as you did. However, I still feel that if what she’s experiencing brings her comfort, the important thing is what she chooses to believe.
NO. Her comfort comes from ignorance and that is NOT a good thing. Believing that one’s dead parents (or anyone else) are “watching over her” is a great way to build false confidence. In this particular case it may not seem a big deal, but taking confidence from things that aren’t real is not much different from having hallucinations about angels, gods, or saints coming to rescue.
The decision to believe or not should not be based on whether something gives comfort. A firm belief or faith (trust, hope, confidence) must be tested and build on things that are real.