It was an innocent suggestion, that game of hide-and-seek. It was only my second week in Honduras with the Calvin College Spanish program. The kids were bored. Their parents were busy talking. I was trying to study. Apparently the kids didn’t notice. Paper airplanes turned to spit wads turned to plastic toys.
“Hey! Let’s play hide-and-seek,” I blurted out.
After we used up all three hiding spots, I was ready to move on. But no. “Let’s play again. You find us!”
I closed my eyes and thought, “I already know where you are. Why are we doing this?” For an entire afternoon we hid in the same spots over and over and over. We did it again the next afternoon, and the next, and almost every afternoon for three months straight. The kids never tired of it. I did.
I felt like a grinch. Who doesn’t like playing games with children? Then I remembered Candy Land. You pick a color card, move to that color, get stuck on the black dot for hundreds of turns, then get sent back to the Gingerbread Tree. Children have an endless fascination for each new game. Most adults, however, get bored the second time through the deck. Some even cheat to let a child win, just to end the misery. I was that child. Now I’m that adult. Unfortunately, Candy Lands abound for adults.
“Will I grocery shop the rest of my life?” I overhear someone complain. “It never ends!” For you it might be the daily commute, the paper route, the office, the assembly line, the fast-food restaurant, mowing the lawn, cleaning the toilet, cooking, eating, drinking, or cutting cheese into really tiny pieces because you can’t find the grater.
Life gets tedious and monotony becomes unbearable. We accept these changes. Then we complain. But something tells me children have it right. Unfortunately they too grow old and turn into us. Who, then, can we look to?
Writer G.K. Chesterton answers, “It is possible that God says every morning, Do it again, to the sun; and every evening, Do it again, to the moon. . . . It may be that God makes every daisy separately, but has never got tired of making them.” Certainly if we could make daisies and tell the sun and moon to rise, we would never tire of those tasks. Our chores, though, seem much more mundane.
I just went to get a drink of water—a rather complicated process in our household because we filter our own water. I want to mimic God, but while God is daisy making, I’m bottle filling. God overflows lakes and seas with bubbling streams and rivers, not water bottles with poorly filtered water.
Every bottle in the house is empty. I wallow in self-pity over this immense injustice as I get out the pitcher. As I pour, the water cascades in a gurgling, ascending scale to the brim of the bottle. The music is so stunning, I almost forget to stop pouring. I’ve heard it a million times before but never listened.
There must be so many tasks waiting to be enjoyed, so much music searching for listening ears. We can approach the world with endless fascination and learn from children to be like our Maker. It won’t be easy every day. It might not be easy any day. But it’s worth a try. Hide-and-seek, anyone? ¦