I remember learning about the concept of object permanence in child psychology. It's fascinating to see how babies and children develop and mature in their understanding of abstract ideas.
Why do babies love the game peek-a-boo?
It's because when they see something, they know it's there. But when they do not see it, their little brains cannot register that the object or person is still right there. They think it's gone. So peek-a-boo is like a mini magic show to little babies! Now you see me, now you don't. Now you're here and a moment later you're not! How did you do that? Kids love it!
As children mature, they can understand this concept on a little bit of a deeper level. They learn that just because they cannot see the something, that does not mean it isn't there. If they don't see the treat they want, that doesn't mean it's not around. And they'll go looking in all the best hiding places until they find the spot where their mommy hid it.
But there's still another level.
Ever since my son got his Purim mask, we have been playing this game together. He puts on the mask and starts looking for his real nose. He gets such a kick out of it every time because when he looks into the mirror, he sees a green nose. Then he lifts the mask and says, "Uhhh! Here's my real nose!" And he giggles and laughs because he finds it so funny.
While we are living in this earth, we also go through different stages of maturing in our understanding of the concept of object permanence. Except, it's not an object that we are relating to, it's Hashem. And as we grow and change, we begin to realize that just because we cannot see Hashem, that doesn't mean He isn't there. To the contrary, Hashem is always here, but we don't always see or feel Him by our side.
As we go through different challenges in our lives, we may fluctuate between feeling this idea on both ends of the spectrum.
Some days, we may feel so connected and so close-we feel Hashem right at our side, even though things may be hard for us. We feel Hashem making the little things easier for us, small things go right and it makes us feel like we can deal with the bigger things. This gives us the strength we need to carry on, to continue going.
Then there will be days when we feel so distant, so alone. Things get hard, almost too hard. It can be a combination of many little things or one big test that makes us feel so lost. When small stresses pile up on top of big things we are dealing with, those little things become so much bigger and so much harder. This is when it's easy to feel like Hashem has left us.
But a Jew must remember that no matter what they are going through, no matter what is going on in their life, Hashem is always there.
You may not see Him. There may be times when you are in too much pain to feel Him by your side.
But always remember that He is there. At all times.