I’ve always liked to hide. To be in places all my own where no one else could fit or find.
As a young girl, I would hunt and scavenge for nooks and corners that I could sink into. I can remember each spot that welcomed me in… A deep closet that had space behind the coats if you ventured in far enough… An unfinished space under the staircase that you could get to only if you crawled through a narrow, rough opening in the drywall of a closet… I remember being no older than eight-years-old rummaging through my dad’s scrap wood pile in the backyard, rusty nails and hammer in hand, searching for the sides of the box that I was determined to build. A box that would be big enough for just me. For hours I hammered and balanced that splintered wood between my bony knees and hands, desperate to make something that I could crawl into. Eventually, I gave up with only two sides of my box barely clinging to each other by a handful of bent nails.
Each space would be adorned with the things of me… drawings, photos, Bible verses, and handfuls of knick-knacks. Usually a radio. Always a flashlight.
But, perhaps my most favorite spot was the place most vulnerable and visible. A place where no flashlight was needed. Perhaps this was the place of deepest comfort and honesty.
A place fully free of me.
Maybe it was here that I was found even when I wasn’t looking to be?
Sometimes, Mom would leave the Volvo station wagon of cranberry red parked at the very end of our cobblestone driveway. Out of sight. The top of that Volvo was just the right size for my wiry, long frame to lie down. The warmth of the metal was just right as it cooled under the setting San Antonio sun. It was all just right. 25 years later, my eyes close and there I am…
The rich powder blue blanket hovers and spreads above me. Subtle yellows and pinks stretch up from the horizon, naturally weaving into this enormous picture with effortless ease. Crisscrossed power lines carrying currents of conversations are the only things separating me from the warmth of its comfort. Electricity booming and zooming above me. Faint sounds of children in a nearby yard playing; capturing the final breath of summer’s light. Yet, my heart so still. So quiet. Smelling and absorbing the freshness of smooth, still air. Sky like water, immersing me under its power. Here, on the top of this Volvo, body pressing into cranberry red steel, where no one is looking for me, I am hidden. Peace abounding and imagination like wild. Free.
Eyes that matched the sky’s depth, wide open. Eyes pulling perfection and freedom into my flawed and strangled mind.
Because even then, at 8 or 9 or 10, something in me wanted to be invisible. Something in me wanted to dissolve.
Even then, at 8 or 9 or 10, I had figured out that what was in there, bound up in wood and windows and locking doors, wasn’t as safe as laying bare under a God-breathed summer sky.
Even then, I was most beautiful when the only reflection I could make out was that of Jesus.
As a speck on a splotch of red, resting atop an enormous Earth, the God of the Universe was focusing in. Zeroing in. Finding me. Even then.
There are these bleachers not far from my house now. And when I sit on them all I can see are the San Gabriel mountains set up against the backdrop of that ever present sky… that very same one that hovered and floated above me at 8 or 9 or 10.
At dusk, I go there to hide so that I can be found again.
And as I embrace the moment, eyes still wide open, I am still her. Pressing into that metal. That girl that screamed out dreams and pleas in total silence.
But as I do, the pounding beat of a love-filled God heart snatches those screams with each thump and pulse. He grabs at each and every single one darting up into that blue abyss and hides it away with him. And like the youngest daughter when threatened by the hand of the oldest daughter, my God declares, “Mine!”
He is jealous. He fights for my knick-knack free love. Like an unsuspecting child who has been swept under by the ocean’s determined current, my Father’s strong hand clutches me. Tight. He pulls me up and out… Hidden but Found.
May I always be that girl.
“You are my hiding place; you will protect me from trouble and surround me with songs of deliverance.” Psalm 32:7