Hiding From the Egg Man

You'll probably guess that my intriguing title is meant to lure you in and keep you reading! I should explain that in employing this time-worn device I am practising on you in the hope that I might improve any skill I possess of presenting a meaningful and improving homily!  Such presumption!

We all hide, don't we?  We do so instinctively, to protect ourselves - behind a mask which becomes our default setting, developed from an early age and honed through maturity to shield us from a critical world without and perhaps (more crucially) that self critical awareness within.

I had never come across the term 'self-effacing' until I read my early school reports, where the term used to describie me recurred year on year! Defined as not claiming attention to oneself - I have learned to see that although I could explain such a perception quite simply as the determination to avoid the teacher's roving eye searching for someone to 'drop on' with difficult questions, it was actually a clear case of hiding in the manner above described. Shyness and lack of confidence are effectual self-erected barriers.

I wish to confess to two occasions when I literally and physically hid.

The first came about very shortly after the birth of our first child. I would dearly like to excuse my conduct by citing post natal hormones, because it sounds plausible and excusable. But let's call a spade a spade, it was hiding in the sense of that term that is rather shameful.

We were living in a small rural village in Hertfordshire. I knew of, and had occasionally seen an older lady who resided there. We had never spoken; I only knew her by sight but she reminded me rather uncomfortably of the Mrs Rochester of Jane Eyre, with long, tangled grey hair and a somewhat wild stare. I never knew her name but was aware that she had a very dubious moral reputation in the area. She was clearly someone of unsound mind and deserved pity and help.

This lady must have heard that our little girl had recently been born. I became conscious that I was encountering her in the vicinity of our home rather frequently and one day I saw her turn into our drive and walk towards the bungalow. In absolute panic I dropped to my knees and crawled infront of our little cottage-suite sofa, effectually concealing me from view. With pounding heart I peeped round the leg of the sofa to see the lady looking in through the picture window.  I admit that I lay there curled up on the floor fearful that she may have made her way round to the back of the house. Our baby was sleeping in her cot in her room. The curtains were closed, but was the back door locked? Probably not.  After what felt like an interminable time, straining to hear sounds of someone in the house and dreading that the baby might awaken and cry, I eventually plucked up the courage to get up and move round the house in that furtive way that intruders do, trying to avoid the windows whilst endeavouring to look through them until I was satisfied that she was gone. As I write this, I am conscious that I dearly wish to be exonerated and excused for my unreasoning and unkind attitude towards a person whose motives I prejudged in the harshest way. After all these intervening years, I still want to hide from my uncharitable and ungodly behaviour.

The second incident I must recount involves Aubrey - the egg man. We move forward by a year or so, now living in another rural little village over the border in Bedfordshire and there is a little baby boy to complete the family. Again, my babies having their constitutional, I was revelling in a little peace and 'R & R', more commonly known as 'me time' nowadays. Again, I was feeling uneasy because I knew Aubrey would be knocking and I simply did not want the encounter despite the lovely fresh farm eggs he came to sell. 

Aubrey was a lovely man, with very twinkly blue eyes and a likeable manner. But he wanted to tell me about Jesus and it was fast becoming an absolute dread to me to have these doorstep encounters. As the time approached I actually pulled the curtains together and ignored the knock that came, twice. The very name of Jesus made me feel uncomfortable. I did not want to hear about the bible, let alone consider the claims Aubrey attributed to Jesus. I was actually scrambling away from the Light and saying - in effect - 'depart from me'. I could actually see and feel through Aubrey a challenging demand to confront uncomfortable things and I refused to comply. I had no idea at that point that this was a spiritual battle of course but by hiding I was refusing to acknowledge truth.

With great joy I can tell you that in course of time - God's perfect time - I was brought to a place of reconciliation and redemption which gave me a dear love (still growing) for the person and Name of Jesus, and Aubrey became a brother in Christ!

Nowadays I rejoice in one type of hiding - yes and daily exult in it too because in Colossians 3:3 I know that I have died  and my life now is hid with Christ, in God.