I have fond memories of outdoor games when I was a kid. We spent hours after church events or during Wednesday night choir rehearsals playing games like Red Rover and Capture the Flag. It's one game that sticks out, however. I'm not really sure why; perhaps because we played it in the yard of our pastor's house or because it included a huge number of kids of all ages. The game was Hide and Seek.
You might think it silly that such a simple, pervasive game grabs my memory. I wonder about that, too, but I can almost feel my heart pounding as I hid in some dark corner among the bushes waiting to be found. The sound of "All-y, All-y outs in free!" meant sweet victory; I wouldn't be "it" for the next round AND my hiding place was still hidden.
In subsequent years, I have frequently experienced again how children LOVE to play Hide and Seek. A succession of young ones has visited our house and played with me, hiding in various spots. No matter how familiar they get with every available hiding spot in our house, they want to play every time they come. Our Hide and Seek adventures have held a few memorable moments, like the evening the kids' mom decided to hide. She pulled a hoodie over her head and sat like a statue against a bedroom wall. Her kids walked right past her again and again and couldn't find her! Maybe there is such a thing as hiding in plain sight.
I'm convinced, though, that Hide and Seek is a much more popular game for adults than for kids. The adult version has our Creator, the lover of our souls, seeking to "find" us and give us the experience we were designed for: intimacy with Him. We hide, though. Any thrill we might undergo as He seeks us out is quickly swallowed up in fear. "What if He finds me? Will He be as disappointed in me as I am in myself? Will He take things away from me that I love? Will He send me to Africa?"
The more He seeks, the more we tend to hide. We think of the shadowy corner of our existence as preferable to the light and freedom He offers. We don't usually begin the "game" with the thought of it lasting a lifetime, but we grow increasingly comfortable in our dark place. Deep down, we sorta hope that He will shout "All-y, All-y outs in free!" at the end...but He won't.
More this weekend at Stone Ridge. Can't join us? Catch the podcast here.