My sister-in-law, Kerri, is one of those special aunts who loves to get down on the floor and play games with her nieces and nephew; fly kites with them; send little random care packages in the mail; and doesn’t mind playing twenty-two thousand games of hide-n-seek. (Thank you, Aunt Kerri!)
If I am ever able to distract the kids and get them interested in something else besides playing with Aunt Kerri, then she and I get to have some great conversations. I remember one time we had a deep conversation about…hide-n-seek, actually.
She stated that most kids want to hide because it’s easier. Seeking is harder. However, the seeker seems most happy and the hider is often disappointed when they’re found. We discussed the parallels in the adult world before the kids found us hiding under the table (hee hee). On a serious note, it truly can be more rewarding to “seek” instead of “hide” in many areas of our lives.
For starters, many of us want to seek out all of the details of our family tree and make much effort to study our family’s genealogy. We want to know WHO WE ARE! It makes us fill with pride to wear our funny t-shirts that say “Kiss me, I’m Irish” or “I was Czech before it was cool!” or "I'm a jolly German, NOT a sour kraut.” And isn’t there such great comradeship when we keep our traditions alive at family reunions, church picnics and other festivities?
Of course, while we seek out who we truly are, we may not understand everything. For instance, my children LOVE The Berenstain Bears. LOVE. LOVE. LOVE. The other day, my daughter was watching an episode on YouTube, but I couldn’t quite make out what they were saying. I listened more closely and found that she had clicked on an episode in the Lakota dialect. I asked her if she understood what they were saying. She replied, “It doesn’t matter what language it is – Spanish or whatever. I love the Berenstain Bears. I just wanna listen and watch.” Of course, she said all of this in perfect Lakota (ha – only kidding!)
If we could only be as diligent…to continue to listen even when we don’t understand.
My Aunt Edie was commenting the other day that she really needed a book to read. She likes to read stories of hope, inspiration and faith and she starts to feel the “valley” or the “desert” when she’s not being inspired through a book. She said, “I just cannot think of a book right now that fits the bill.” A few days later, we had a conversation. She said, “Oh gosh, it was like a 2X4 on the head. Duh. I need a book? How ‘bout Matthew, Mark, Luke and John? Does that ring a bell? I HAVE a book!”
Speaking of the Bible and seeking who we are – I find such joy in many verses of Psalm 139. I particularly enjoy my Confirmation edition Bible because it is so easy to understand:
“O Lord, you have examined my heart and know everything about me. You know when I sit and when I stand. When far away, you know my every thought. You chart the path ahead of me and tell me where to stop and rest. Every moment, you know where I am. You know what I am going to say before I even say it. You both precede and follow me and place your blessing on my head. You made me. You knit me together in my mother’s womb. Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! It is amazing to think about. Your workmanship is marvelous – and how well I know it. You were there while I was being formed in seclusion. You saw me before I was born and scheduled each day of my life before I began to breathe.
Every day was recorded in your Book.”
Wow. So, He also knew what our strengths and weaknesses would be from the day of our conception. In His great wisdom, He knew what crosses we’d bear and gave us what we’d need to carry them. And, with Good Friday approaching, it is a great time to remember that He knows about heavy crosses. He knows. He truly knows. The will of God will never take us where the grace of God will not protect us.
Sometimes it is just easier to hide, though, right? There is less effort needed for that and on certain days, that just sounds a whole heck of a lot better than seeking. One of the problems with hiding is that we start talking to ourselves, but it’s usually not gentle. We tell ourselves things we’d never say to someone else.
On days that I choose to hide instead of seek, my day starts off very negatively. Within the first two minutes of our day, we might say to ourselves, “My hair is so blah. I hate my job. My home is outdated. The weather is pitiful. Man, I’m fat.” There’s five little nasty thoughts right there and the negative self-talk usually continues the rest of the day.
If we try the “seeking” mode, we might start the day off with an inspirational quote, a Bible verse, a quick prayer or a rosary recitation. Our entire day will most likely include much more positive self-talk like, “Hey, I’m lucky to have hair. I’m glad I have a job. I’m so blessed to have a roof over my head. The weather is out of my control – someone must need the rain today. I’m lucky to have food to eat, but I will start to include more activity in my day and make better food choices to feel healthier.”
Ahhh. Doesn’t that sound better? It’s more soothing for sure. We can still talk to ourselves, but let’s do it gently. However, I do want to make something perfectly clear – singing at the top of our lungs while in the car – alone - is totally still acceptable, no matter what type of strange looks you get from the guy in the car beside you. After all, hasn’t he heard that singing is praying twice? (tee hee hee)
Eager to watch a wonderful movie about seeking? October Baby (http://www.hulu.com/watch/323183/october-baby) is the story of a young woman’s incredible journey to discover her hidden past and to find her birth mother. It’s about faith, life and forgiveness. The soundtrack is breathtakingly amazing as well. (Bring a Kleenex or two…or twenty, in my case.)
Eager to read an unforgettable book about seeking? Unplanned by Abby Johnson is nothing short of, “Speechless!” (http://www.unplannedthebook.com/) This heart-stopping story of truth and spiritual transformation will change lives. In her book, you will also hear about the “40 Days for Life” campaign (http://www.40daysforlife.com/). The peaceful pro-life vigil held in 258 locations around the world saved 718 babies this year. Twenty-two abortion centers closed following this last campaign ending on April 1st. The power of prayer is undeniable here. In the words of
- “Work as though everything depends on you. Pray as though everything depends on God.” St. Augustine
If we truly desire to seek the truth about our world and about ourselves, we can surely learn from every person we encounter. God put them on our path for a reason. No matter if we’re hiding or seeking today, God is right beside us.