Hiding Places have always held an attraction to me. When I was ten, I convinced (hounded, begged, bugged) my mom to let me sleep in a box on the front lawn. I climbed into my cardboard bed before dark, accompanied by the necessary pillows, blankets and peanut butter. I slept, interrupted only by the exuberant snuffling of a dog (this was before leash laws, or any laws prohibiting people from sleeping on cardboard in public places). He yelped, undoubtedly delighted at discovering a box of child, like one giant kibble. To my mom and siblings, the neighbors and now this dog, it was obvious: I was an odd child. But years passed, and by the time I married and had kids, I’d morphed from odd child into odd adult, never outgrowing my love for hiding places.
With eight kids and homeschooling, hiding places were as scarce as eight hours of sleep. Every mother who’s ever aspired to rise early in hopes of squeezing a few minutes of Bible calm before breakfast storm, knows that built into every newborn is an “iMom” implant, with technological capacities greater than any espionage tracking device, by which any slight change of the mother’s aspiration signals an “iWant” and “iNeed” alarm emitting instantly from the newborn. iSigh. Eventually, I honed the science of keeping my breathing pattern in rem sleep mode, innoculated all door and cabinet hinges with WD-40, and readied all tea and devotional supplies the night before, so I could belly-crawl to my newly secured childproof hiding place/sanctuary: the family van. This worked as long as I resisted a sideways glance at the whole family peering, noses pressed against the van windows, holding placards of “What’s for breakfast?” and “Honey, do I have a clean pair of socks somewhere?”
Things have changed in the last few years, yet in spite of six of our eight kids married, hiding places are still required. Life requires them. “Jesus said to them, ‘Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.'” Mk. 6:31 Hey, I figure if Jesus needed them, so do I. It’s a comfort to know I’m like Him in some way.
John and I are in a hiding place right now: an off-season cabin next to a stream. Burrowed like two groundhogs, we sit by the fire and write and read and think, popping our heads out only to sit in the sun or run down the hill for something to throw on the barbecue. I have time to think. So I’m thinking about hiding places, and at the moment, I’m thinking of marriage.
My marriage is a hiding place. “I am my beloved’s and he is mine”. Genesis says of Adam and Eve, “…and they were both naked and unashamed.” That makes some people squirm. Me, for instance. I had to think about this. Why am I uncomfortable with this thought? Well, because nakedness is so…um..so…well, naked. Even the word naked sounds naked. I think that’s called an “onomatopoeia”- a word that sounds like what it is; like quack, hiss and buzz. And naked. But Genesis says that before those two had an apple feeding frenzy, Adam and Eve weren’t ashamed. Eve never asked Adam, “Babe, does this fig leaf make my thighs look fat?” And Adam never pretended he wasn’t flexing his muscles when he folded his arms across his chest. They wore nothing- yet felt safe. So I guess we have them to blame for every conceived bodily flaw.
But there’s something more here. Nakedness (squirm) also means laid bare in other ways. I’m thinking of the fact that John knows me better than anyone else, knows my weaknesses and could use them against me, but he doesn’t. Even when he doesn’t understand, he’s is understanding. I know his vulnerable spots, too.
We know pretty much how we react to stress. He becomes faster than a speeding snail (but not much faster), and I’m a runaway train, going a hundred miles a minute (at the mouth, anyway). When faced with decisions, he’s a processor, I’m a reactor. Oh- and get this- He believes everything our teens tell him! I don’t believe anything they tell me. But I guess we balance each other out even in that, because we both believe in them. He knows my odd little quirky habit of thinking that the car two lanes over is going to side-swipe us before I can finish this sen- JOHN!!! LOOK OUT!!! HE’S GONNA HIT US! …okay…where was I?
Oh yeah- well I know some things, too- about him, I mean- but I’m not tellin’ cuz like I said, we are each other’s hiding place. In other words, when it comes to those personal insanities, we should be each other’s confidante, i.e. “Your secret is safe with me.” I guess another way of putting it is, Love covers. 1st Peter 4:8 says we are to love each other deeply because love covers a multitude of sin: John’s love for me covers my sin, my love for John covers his sin. We compensate for each other. Please note: I’m NOT speaking of blatant sin issues here-those are not safe anywhere but nailed to the cross.
Of course, none of this is possible without the presence of Christ in our lives. Isaiah says the place where He dwells “will be a shelter and shade from the heat of the day, and a refuge and hiding-place from the storm and rain.” (Isaiah 4:6)
Okay, so I’m done now, I’m gonna go practice being naked and unashamed. Wait…did I just say that out loud?! I’m SO ashamed!