Hidden in plain sight

  • Saturday, March 2, 2019 1:30am
  • Opinion

By Jenny Smith

During one of those long snow days we had recently, I asked my kids what they wanted to do. The 7-year-old announced, “Let’s play tag!” I started counting, they squealed and ran away.

I found them in short order, and we played again. When it was my youngest’s turn to count, I ran to the play room and hid behind a very thin gray curtain.

I literally stood behind the curtain and didn’t move. I figured this hiding spot wouldn’t last 20 seconds.

Much to my surprise, he ran past me once. Twice. Three times. He found his sister, and she skipped into the playroom and sat down near me. I whispered and she laughed when she saw me.

She told her brother in her sing song voice, “Mom’s in here, but I’m not telling you where.”

He continued to look everywhere for me. After a good 10 minutes, he finally lifted up the curtain and saw his mom. A big grin spread across his face.

I had a great 10 minutes to stand there with my face pressed up against a very cold window with snow on the other side of it.

There was some time to think, and here’s what I noticed. It’s not rocket science, but I needed the reminder. Maybe you do, too.

So much of what we look for is hidden in plain sight. Love, grace, forgiveness, wisdom, purpose, patience, new perspective, friendship, clarity, peace, joy, rest, understanding.

It’s here. All around us. But we keep looking everywhere else for it.

Sometimes I think I’ll find it at the store. I’m 100 percent sure that new notebook or fun T-shirt will satisfy what I was craving. Target fixes all our problems, right?

Or it’s definitely those chocolate chip cookies in the freezer. One of those bad boys in the microwave for 30 seconds, and I’d feel happy.

Or some days it’s definitely my phone. Just one more check on Instagram, Facebook or Snapchat, and I’ll finally feel content.

It feels good for the moment. Maybe even a few moments.

But then it’s just a plastic bag on the counter, a pan in the sink and 30 minutes I lost forever.

I still feel a vague sense of discontent, dissatisfaction, annoyance, anxiety, unrest, isolation, anger or confusion.

If what I’m really looking for is hidden in plain sight, then where is it?

It’s disguised in things that look boring or simple at first. It’s hidden in quiet, rest, stillness.

It’s hidden in erasing a few things off my calendar. It’s hidden in the smile and hug of a loved one.

It’s hidden in the playfulness of a beloved pet. It’s hidden in the music that invites your body to the kitchen dance floor. It’s hidden in the good, healthy food your body craves.

It’s hidden in putting work down or listening to my body. It’s hidden outside in nature, all over the place.

It’s even hidden in the mirror when you pause long enough to really look at yourself. See those eyes, that smile, that face, that body that carries you through your life.

So much of what we look for is hidden in plain sight. Love is there. Keep playing hide and seek. Love wants you to find it.

Jenny Smith is pastor of Marysville United Methodist Church. Her faith column runs monthly.

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