Hide and Seek

February 3, 2016 at 4:56 pm

boy-666803_1920From time to time, I am prone to hiding. I suppose in one way or another, we all are. When we feel weak, afraid, tired or insecure, we each have a way of closing down the hardness of the outside world, to shut out the lights or the sounds or the unbearable darkness, and simply hide away for a season. The holidays always bring on the temptation strongest for me- when thoughts of the broken family of my youth, as well as the present, come sweeping into central focus once again. For whatever reason this year, I wanted to hibernate just a little bit longer.

When I was a child I dealt with the pains of life by escaping to my room, and more specifically, escaping into my imagination. In my own mind I could not be hurt and fantastical worlds could be created that helped me leave the bleakness of reality behind. In so many ways, I am still that young child and I am still equally as quick to leave the very messy business of being human, for a spell, in order to retreat into a world of my own making.

Frederick Buechner once wrote about this tendency to hide in a piece called “Two Stories.” And while he has focused his plea towards pastors in particular, the truth he shares is equally applicable (as it always is) to us all. 

“We speak of books we’ve read and ideas we’ve had. We speak of great questions like abortion and conservation and the dangers of nuclear power, and of what we take to be the Christian answers to such questions. If we get more personal about it, we speak of problems we’ve had—problems with children and old age, problems with sex and marriage, ethical problems­ and of Christian solutions to those problems or at least of Christian ways of viewing them. And if, in the process, we decide to tell stories, then, like the preacher as peddler, we may tell stories about ourselves as well as about other people, but not, for the most part, our real stories, not stories about what lies beneath all our other problems, which is the problem of being human, the problem of trying to hold fast somehow to Christ when much of the time, both in ourselves and in our world, it is as if Christ had never existed. Because all peddlers of God’s word have that in common, I think: they tell what costs them least to tell and what will gain them most; and to tell the story of who we really are and of the battle between light and dark, between belief and unbelief, between sin and grace that is waged within us all costs plenty and may not gain us anything, we’re afraid, but an uneasy silence and a fishy stare.”

I am well aware that to claim transparency from the other side of a blog is woefully weak and unpersuasive. I won’t pretend that is what I am up to here. But I do hope that Buechner’s word’s might challenge you, as they have me, to find someone to which your story, your true story, can be told and known. Someone who can lend you a hand in the dark and help you come out of hiding. And to grant you a bit of courage on the journey , I leave you with another piece of Beuchner’s wisdom, this time from his book The Clown in the Belfry. Whatever darkness has sent you into hiding, you are never there alone.

“When somebody takes your hand in the dark, you’re not afraid of the dark anymore. The power of the dark is a great power, but the power of the light is greater still. It is the shepherd of the light himself who reaches out a hand, who is “Thou” to us. Death and dark are not the end. Life and light are the end. It is what the cross means, of course. The cross means that out of death came, of all things, birth….hope coming out of hopelessness, joy coming out of sorrow, comfort and strength coming out of fear. Thanks be to all that the cross means and is, we need never to be afraid again.”

Here is to our invitation to step back into the light again, together.