It all started out as an innocent way to have a fun. A family activity. A fun little twist on a simple little game. It was never meant to go on this long.
But here we are.
Once upon a time, when the kids were much smaller than they are now...MUCH smaller than they are now...we began a tradition of playing Hide and Seek. But this was no ordinary game of Hide and Seek. Oh no, that would be too easy. We had to make it more difficult. More challenging.
We play it in the dark.
We never play outside, and the basement is off limits. Counting begins in the living room or out on the patio if the weather permits. Whoever is "It" is allowed to carry a flashlight. The first person found is the next "It" unless they've already had a turn, and we only play one full round a night. Bear in mind we may have up to eight people playing at one time!
Over the years our little game has become renowned throughout the circle of friends my children have. We can't have anyone spend the night without a request for a game, and most times we comply. One of my daughter's friends from Virginia always has to play a round when she visits, even though she's now almost old enough to drive. Sometimes I think the kids just want to play to see us old fogies try to find a place to hide they haven't thought to look in all the years we've been playing. And after this many years, that's quite a feat!
Two nights ago as I was stuck in my closet between a plastic bag holding a suit I hadn't worn in seven years and the back wall waiting to be found, I considered how very blessed I am. True, many of the prime hiding places were no longer available since we had cleared much of the dirty laundry from bedroom floors. (Insert groans here.) However, how many families can say they still have kids ASKING to take part in a family activity in the middle school/early high school years? And how many parents of today would take the time out to spend with their kids playing a silly little game? Yet it's things like this that mean the most. These are the things our children will remember and pass on to their grandchildren.
Don't get me wrong. There's no way I have any room whatsoever to pat myself on the back. This is one thing and one thing only we stumbled upon that we just happened to do right. There are a myriad of other things we have done and continue to do wrong...just ask the kids. But through this one thing...this tiny little thing...I see there is hope for the days ahead. That God's promises are true. That my children will not forget what they have been taught throughout their lives about His love, His goodness, His mercy and His care. That His faithfulness will come through in the end and He will find them in a new way. Maybe not in the same way He finds me, or in the same way they've been taught, but in a new and different way.
Their own way.
And maybe that's not such a bad way to be found if you've been hiding in a dark place.
Train up a child in the way he should go, And when he is old he will not depart from it.
New King James Version © 1982 Thomas Nelson