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Assuredly, most of us have considered running away as our best option. Sometimes, we have just had it. Things don’t work out. We have bad days. Our control is obviously a figment of our imagination. Nobody will cooperate — ergo, do it my way. No one lifts a finger or speaks an encouraging word.
We find ourselves alone and overwhelmed when financial woes, illness, frustration at a string of bad luck, the ugly actions of others, fatigue and more seem to swallow us whole.
Why can’t they just listen to me? Why can’t they cooperate with me? Why can’t they understand me? Obviously, it is an “I” problem as much as a “ME” issue.
Happily, that impulse never came to fruition after careful contemplation with a twist of rationalization; it was never my choice. Besides, where would one go? What would you pack, if anything? How would you exist? Get a job or live under an overpass?
The hasty, silly thoughts generated when patience is tested to the limits are rarely helpful.
Actually, wherever we go, our troubles and woes accompany us. So-and-so being a jerk would only lead me to meeting a replacement jerk elsewhere.
Let’s face it. There are problems wherever we go, but at least if we stay, we know what we must tolerate to get along.
Lesson learned. The only way is to work through difficulties because we cannot go around them. They continue to crop up until we learn the lesson intended. We still have to deal with human beings, and so does God, which must be terribly frustrating to him.
My son was about 5 years old when he took the bait. He had become upset with me for some reason or another. He had received a “no” when his determination required a “yes.”
Mad, he wasn’t going to take it anymore, so he made the big announcement: “I’m running away!”
“Where will you go?” I implored.
Following an angry huff, he spit out the words, “I don’t know.”
“Well, if you insist on leaving, you need to take some things with you. Can I help you pack?”
“No! I can do it myself,” he spat the words.
He grabbed his little overnight bag out of his closet, opened it up and threw it on the floor. He began stuffing it with clothes from his chest of drawers.
“You might want to take a coat, too, because it gets pretty cool after dark,” I added.
He was silent but pensive before pulling one from its hanger.
“What are you going to eat? You will get pretty hungry by suppertime,” I reminded him.
He shrugged in agreement.
“Well, here is a jar of peanut butter and some crackers. Do you need anything else?”
“No. And I’m not changing my mind, either!” he blurted.
Then, he closed his little bag and headed out the side door.
“Can I have a kiss and a hug before you go?”
Remaining silent, he stiffly turned for his usual embrace. I kissed his cheek and watched him walk away from the open doorway.
His stride was confident as he turned left at the end of the driveway, lugging his heavy bag. He headed north up the dirt-and-gravel road, kicking a stone once in a while. It was about a half-mile to the corner.
I watched him intently, my emotions a mixture of love, concern and humor. He trudged along past the oil derricks. Every 30 or 40 feet, he set down his satchel and gazed back at the house. Of course, I ducked out of view. Then, he picked it up and walked on.
He was nearly to the abandoned house near the corner when he sat his bag down, dropping onto the grassy edge of the road beside it. He didn’t sit there for very long until he got up and headed toward home, defeated.
Hastily, I busied myself, waiting for his return. He opened the sliding door and dragged his bag in. Feigning surprise, I looked up from my task and said, “I thought you weren’t going to live here anymore. Are you here for a visit?”
“I changed my mind,” he said without looking at me.
He went into his room, and that was the end of the tale. Neither of us ever mentioned it again until he had children of his own.
When we become weary, always remember that we have a home to return to one day. Our eternal home and heavenly father await us with open arms. Run to him — do not run away.
—A coal miner’s daughter born in Appalachia and schooled in Michigan, Hill currently lives in rural Athens. She describes herself as a cook and cookbook author, jack of all trades and master of none, a Christian wife, mother, grandmother and great-grandmother. She shares her home with her husband, Bob, and their spoiled-beyond-belief dog, Molly.