I was taught the goal of hide and seek was to hide and not be found. However, winning the game wasn’t fun for me. When I was 5, I was invited to Peter’s birthday party. We were excited to see a big truck and trailer in the driveway with a pony we could ride.
While we played hide and seek outside, I crouched behind a huge tire under the trailer. As kids were found, I heard them enjoying the fun of seeking together. I became the only one left — all alone in my dark hiding place. Before my friends went in to get cake, Peter called out “Wallis, where are you? Come out – the game’s over.”
I jumped up to yell, “Here I am. I won! I won!” But before I yelled, and as I leapt up, I hit my head on the metal guard over the wheel. I never yelled “I won” because I was ashamed I hit my head.
As I emerged from behind the truck, everyone’s eyes focused on me as their mouths dropped open. The truck’s metal had gashed the top of my head and blood was running down my side. While it wasn’t anything like the movie “Carrie” I was bleeding like a head gash does. I was covered in towels and taken for several stitches. I was sorry I won; I never got any cake.
I wish I had learned at 5 that I only hurt myself when I’m so competitive, but that painful lesson continues. I did learn that I have a lot more fun being found than staying hidden. Years later (maybe due to my early lesson), I’d play over a hundred games of “seek and hide” with my church youth groups. One kid would go hide and the rest would seek; when you found the kid you hid with him or her. The game ended when the last one followed the sound of stifled laughter to open a door on 20 youth in a closet. Being found was a lot more fun than hiding, and we all won together.
In the beginning of my formation story of Genesis, the first question God asks is “Where are you?” The man says, “I was hiding.” When competition led to murder, God asks Cain, “Where is your brother?” One might summarize the rest of the Bible as asking, “Where are you in relation to God?” and “Where are you in relation to your brother/sister/neighbor?”
What are your examples of hiding from the Divine? When have you hidden from other people? How do you respond to being found? In what ways have you joined others in the search for a path to follow?