As we talk about facing into our pain, heartache, and failing by owning up to these as we live out the prayer “forgive us our sins and we forgive those that sin against us,” I am reminded of a poem I wrote about this theme.
How do you face into and not hide these difficult experiences and feelings yourself? I hope this poem helps you open up.
Your progressive redneck preacher,
Hide and Seek
I remember hiding
in the cool shade of overhanging branches
the damp musty smell of fallen leaves
Others were running trying to find me
but I was calm, hidden in the shadows.
Hiding has never just been a game for me.
I learned early hiding was a way to not be drawn into
their shouting matches
a way to be clear of drunken rages and manic swings.
The ground was steady in the shadows.
The overhanging branches felt as safe as an embrace.
Perhaps this is why one of the first games I remember was in the woods
with my brother and sister building a fort,
or why I dreamed of doing like Huck Finn
and building a raft
I would ride on through that wooded creek
out into the sunset.
I learned hiding early and it I learned it well.
I learned to duck out to avoid the taunts and fists of bullies.
I learned to slip away when people spoke of holidays,
not wanting them to see what we lacked
and I learned not to mention the street corner by my house
lest folks see its disarray.
I learned most importantly to hide
my anger, my tears,
my weakness, my fears,
lest it be seen as weakness
not just by the bullies at the school
but by people at home
who too early
I learned I had to protect.
This has left a fear that paints the horizon of my sky
not with rosy hues but shadows,
shadows that both conceal and accentuate
terror and confusion,
yet which are cool and refreshing from the summer heat
of other’s stares.
Most of all I hid from my own vision,
for the one most ready to reject
what I hide in my shadows
Yet I am learning to move out of the shadows,
for I’ve found
the funny thing about hiding in them is
it may seem “see no evil, hear no evil” works
as you cover you eyes and ear,
but it sure makes it hard to drive.
Navigating the road with blinders on the windshield
is a bitch,
a certain recipe for a wreck.