It’s almost the end of December, the traditional time for elderly people to ask, “Where did the year go?”, forgetting all about Einstein’s Theory of Relativity of Time which states that “Time speeds up exponentially as you age, except when in the presence of relatives you wouldn’t necessarily have picked had you been given a choice.”
I’m not asking where the year went, not because I’m sick of my relatives — I love them all — but because I’m tired of hide and seek. If the year is lost, I’m not looking for it.
I’m good at hiding, but I hate seeking. Car keys, Chica’s dog sweater, the milk, my darn glasses. I just had them. Pat, what did you do with my glasses?!? No, I never leave them in the spare bedroom, and … never mind, here they are. Yes, in the spare bedroom. Hey, don’t make fun of me or I won’t help you look for your phone.
I no longer like hide and seek.
I used to. When we Harpers were kids in Great Falls, we and friends would sometimes play hide and seek. On dark nights in the fall, when the weeds in the vacant lot by our house were waist high, and we didn’t use flashlights, hide and seek was a wide-open game. In the few seconds when “It” was counting to twenty, all you had to do was lie down on the ground in the weeds, and the person who was It could never find you unless he or she stepped on you. You couldn’t be seen.
So everybody gave up after a while. Either that, or we changed the rules, so that everybody was “it” except for one, and we all went stomping through the weeds after giving him or her 20 seconds to zip out into the field. We almost never found the hider unless he got scared and got up and ran and we chased. Then it looked like something out of a comic horror movie.
Now, the worst part of hide and seek is the game I play inside my head. My brain never converted to digital with the times. My memory uses a card catalogue to locate what I have stored in the brain circuits. When somebody, mentioning no names, forgets to put a card back in the catalogue, then I can’t retrieve from the “stacks” of my brain the name of my doctor; or the singer I like so much, you know, What’s-her-name; or the name of the high school classmate. I haven’t yet lost track of where I put the names of my siblings, but it’s always a possibility. I’ve become excellent at hiding things from myself, and ever less successful in the seeking.
At this point anybody under 55 has stopped reading because they have no idea what a card catalogue is, but they can recognize dementia when they hear it.
Our democracy and our denomination (United-at-least-for-a-little-while-longer Methodism) are both quite elderly, and they both are playing hide and seek with the truth. Racism was going out of style, but is it now socially acceptable again? When Jesus said God loves everybody, did he mean everybody who is heterosexual only? If you tell lies often enough and get enough people to believe them, does that make them more important than truth, which you can then label “Fake News?”
I feel like the weeds are more than waist-high, and our nation and church are searching for truth that has taken to lying down where it can’t be seen. Maybe the time is getting late, so we need to shout: “TIME OUT! EVERYBODY IN! Mom made s’mores and hot chocolate and some of you need to call your parents.”
Just a suggestion.