Running Away

boy-walking

I’d threatened many times to join the circus or go live on a raft on the Mississippi like Tom and Huck. But that wasn’t the case this time. It was some since-forgotten atrocity—homework? weekend chores? (I still hate vacuuming)—that led to my decision to run away forever.

I was surprised at the coolness of Mom’s reaction:

“Are you sure?”

“Yes!”

“OK.”

That was it. Just “OK.” And then she proceeded to pack my lunch. She was obviously anxious to get rid of me.

I stomped about in my bedroom, slamming necessities—my sacred texts (Huckleberry Finn, Call of the Wild, The Three Musketeers), leftover Valentine’s Day candy—into a makeshift rucksack (my pillowcase), then headed for the front door, shouting, “I’m going now!”

Silence.

“Forever!”

“OK.”

Slam!

It was nearly two miles to the end of the flower field, the last vestige of rural life in our booming Orange County suburb. I’d watched the migrant workers pick flowers in the field. I’d built multiple tree houses there. But I’d never been to the end, where the stately eucalyptus trees marched. Until now.

As I trudged along, rucksack dangling from a broom handle, plastic pioneer canteen on my belt, I was ablaze with the spirit of adventure.

The only thing hampering my carefree spirit was the feeling I was being followed. Each time I’d reach the top of a hill I’d look back. Hadn’t I seen that car before? But then it would be gone. No, just my imagination. (Which was roughly the size of equatorial Africa.)

Who knew a sack lunch could taste so good? I finished my PB&J, drained the last drop from my authentic Daniel Boone canteen, and headed toward the distant hills as the sun turned to burnt sienna (one of my favorite Crayola colors).

Three hours later, I was deep into uncharted territory. I was cold. And thirsty. Why had I decided to leave again? Reading a favorite chapter of Tom Sawyer would help, but that would require a bedside lamp. Or a flashlight and covers to read beneath.

I sat down on the hard alien soil, but I didn’t cry.

Much.

I’d almost reached the point of total despair when I heard wheels creeping up beside me. It wasn’t the sound of a car that had just arrived, it was the sound of a car that had been waiting, perhaps thirty of forty feet away, and then simply crept forward. Oh, great! I thought. And now I get kidnapped! Shlunka, shlunka, shlunk, the window rolled down.

“We’re having spaghetti for dinner. Want to come home?”

This time it was me who said,

“OK.”

“Where can I go from your Spirit?
    Where can I flee from your presence?
If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
    if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
    if I settle on the far side of the sea,
even there your hand will guide me,
    your right hand will hold me fast.”

Psalm 139: 9-10

About mitchteemley

Writer, Filmmaker, Humorist, Thinker-about-stuffer
This entry was posted in For Pastors and Teachers, Humor, Memoir, Quips and Quotes and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

42 Responses to Running Away

  1. Wisdom comes slowly sometimes, but when love is guiding it, it has room to arrive. What a beautiful, poignant story! And Psalm 139 is hands down my favorite always.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Karisa Moore says:

    Tears. Such a well told story. Your details stir the memory of my own salvation. There is nothing like coming to the end of self and finding God is still close when we run.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. CLEvangelism says:

    Great post — and the flower field sounds lovely.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. pastorpete51 says:

    Sounds like you had a smart mom! Great story…thanks

    Liked by 2 people

  5. grAnnie Roo says:

    I fondly remember the Orange County you mention… (Deep, thankful sigh). ☺

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Such a good story and what a good mom!!! What a great outcome too…it could have been different if she wasn’t so vigilant!

    Liked by 3 people

  7. I don’t remember ever running away, Mitch. Today, wherever I run to, I am always there. Great verse from the Psalms.🙏😎

    Liked by 2 people

  8. joyroses13 says:

    Great story and analogy to it!
    Way to go Mom 🙂
    My nephew “ran away” one day when he was little too. He packed his suitcase and made it to the end of the driveway and then had second thoughts. 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

  9. How often we want to distance ourselves from the Father because He is inconvenient in the moment. How grateful we are when we discover that He is faithful even when we are faithless. (2 Tim 2:13) Great story, Mitch.

    Liked by 3 people

  10. I said that once. Mother offered to come help me pack, but I found out I only had one pair of clean socks so I agreed to wait until laundry day to run away. No point in running away without clean socks …

    Liked by 3 people

  11. What a sweet and loving story! I so enjoyed it.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Great story – and what a perfect scripture to go with it! Thanks for sharing this.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. roninjax says:

    Beautiful Mitch with a real life application. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Cindy Aten says:

    I love this! Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Cindy Aten says:

    Reblogged this on A Grateful Grace-full Life and commented:
    I love this story, it makes me think of how much God loves us, even when we make poor choices. He wants us to “come home.”

    Liked by 1 person

  16. kakymc says:

    Love this. The verse at the end caught me off guard in the best kind of way. Thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

  17. numrhood says:

    psalm 114:34-35 said 139:09-10

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Great story! I remember a similar experience, and my mama said, “Do you want me to help you pack your bag?”

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Yep! God is like that! Great story. I especially liked the sound the window being rolled down makes!

    Liked by 1 person

  20. Nancy Ruegg says:

    Did all our moms in the ’50s/’60s read the same book about runaway threats?! My mom reacted very similarly to yours when I announced my imminent departure (due to terribly unfair treatment–HA!). I expected pleas for me to stay and promises that she’d work harder to be a good mother. (Again, HA! In reality, she was an excellent mother.) Like you, I received a pleasant “OK!” My plan was to walk to my grandmother’s house, perhaps a half mile away. I pictured her welcoming me with great sympathy and understanding. But I don’t remember ever getting there nor how the whole episode resolved itself. ‘Glad you remembered your experience, Mitch. It does make a great story (the way you tell it!), and beautiful imagery for our Heavenly Father’s attentive care.

    Liked by 2 people

  21. Jeff Rab says:

    Excellent, Mitch! Fun, entertaining, and drives a point home at the end with truth! Thoroughly enjoyed this post!

    Liked by 1 person

  22. Jennie says:

    I love this story!

    Liked by 1 person

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