“Come on Grama Ruth. “Run”, 2 ½ year old grand-granddaughter urged as she took off to the front yard. After a week of being away, I was impressed with her accomplishment of fast outdoor-running. Before I left, she was running from the front door to my chair in the next room—about 25 fast-enough steps into my outstretched arms. I ran after her as much as 87-year-old legs and back permitted. When she peaked around the house to check on me, she ran full speed and safely into my open arms.
Running away, then toward me fully-trusting that I would be there to receive her safely, stimulated reflection. Could I run that fast when I was not 3 years old yet? Who was there to receive me into their arms? Memory quickly highlighted two stints in running fast which naturally involved brother, Mac. And both fast-runs were mysteriously connected to troubles because we were partners in playing, chore-sharing and committing little crimes.
On a beautiful summer morning 75 years ago when I was 7 and Mac, 6 we found a perfect place to play cops and robbers--on the nearby straw pile (where we weren’t supposed to be). Mom was always glad when we took our noise outside since David was an infant, but she didn’t always know where we were or what we were doing. Brother, John, 10, had joined our fun that day, and probably called the shots. Mac and I had just put John in the straw cave-jail that we hollowed out and were deciding where we could hide from him, when we spotted the tenant farmer coming our way. We ran the opposite direction, slid off the pile on the other side and scampered to our secret hiding place on the second floor of the shed which was adjacent to the kitchen door. From our vantage point, we didn’t hear all the farmer said because his back was to us but could tell he was upset by his loud tattling-tone. But we did hear our quiet, and kind Mother calmly say “The kids are not going to hurt your straw pile and shame on you for scaring them”. Ooh, close call. Mac and I grinned at each other. I don’t know what happened to John in jail, but am going to inquire. Neither Mac nor I can recall being scolded or punished for the misdemeanor. Maybe mom disciplined John. I’ll ask him that as well.
Yes, Mom’s arms were wide open as she protected us from an angry farmer. We stayed off the straw pile but found another little crime that, to this day no one in the family even knows we committed. We switched to playing around corn shocks, making them our imaginary homes then pushing some over. We designed creative action sagas because we were both strong Intuitives, but at that early age we were fairly innocent to how our games might infringe on others.
The next year the family moved into another farm house also with a tenant farmer. Dad had grown up on a farm so he managed to put in a huge garden and made sure we had plenty of chickens for eggs and meat. Mac and I especially enjoyed our evening egg-gathering assignment pretending to be special investigators for the strategy-part needed because the chickens didn’t lay all their eggs in the chicken house but wandered inside the barn to make nests in the straw which depended on our searching skills.
On that memorable evening, Mac and I set out as usual with the oblong egg basket on my arm and gathered eggs from the chicken house first, then nonchalantly headed for the barn. We squeezed through the narrow 10-inch opening of the barn doors to check the normal nests in the soft straw on the first floor of the barn. We were bewildered that all the nests were empty of eggs, so, our search was joyfully intensified. As our search produced no new nests, we began to strategize. One of us, probably me, projected “I’ll bet Lowell got the eggs. They don’t have chickens.” Just as that was uttered, Farmer Lowell sprang over the stall after us. He had been lying in wait. Boy! did we ever disappear. Mac slipped through the door, then somehow, I turned the basket longwise and we hightailed it across the chicken yard, set the basket down on the back porch, escaped to the front yard and shimmied up our Maple-tree-secret-hiding-place. From up high, we could see the open front door (which we rarely used) and heard Mom scold him for chasing and scaring her kids. She never breathed a word about the incident. Again, mom had our backs and served as our protector and lawyer. Once again, her arms were wide open.
After all these years, I am getting excellent spiritual good out of Mac’s and my close calls. Isn’t it interesting that our immature spontaneous solution to our current problems was to run away fast—attempting to avoid facing the truth or the results? That’s still the protocol that many teens and adults follow. I projected that Mom personified Jesus who loves us unconditionally, knows our predicaments, troubles and with outstretched arms is there to catch us. Always.
Mom never lectured us but gave us plenty of space to mature naturally in choosing acceptable behavior and learn how to be sensitive to the welfare of others. She exampled the wisdom of being honest. She was always open to hear our woes and never backed us into a corner demanding admission of guilt.
That’s just how God regards His children—you and me included. And Mac. The Lord knows our plight but waits until we are willing to ask for His help. He doesn’t force anyone into His arms, but He’s always present when we’re running and ready. He will help us to treat ourselves and others with unconditional love, patience and understanding and give us courage to run away from negative influences and toward positive solutions. We are equipped, then, to pass these positive truths on to our children and friends.
We can dodge some troubles but not all. Just like Mac and I created our own troubles, many do the same today. Some parents have shared that their teens seem to run to troubles by keeping friendships that are too strong for them. And judging from my counseling experience, adults get into trouble in the very same way. Knowing who to run to with our questions, concerns and small ‘crimes’, gives all of us confidence and comfort because we can count on the Lord to receive us into his outstretched arms. The Proverbs passage succinctly addresses that need.
P.S. I just spoke with John about how he escaped from the straw-pile jail. “The farmer found me and explained why our stepping on the straw destroyed a protective layer allowing rain to go down deeper and would rot and ruin it”. He didn’t remember any scolding from mom.
My son, if you accept my words and store up my commands within you, turning your ear to wisdom and applying your heart to understanding; indeed, if you call out for insight and cry aloud for understanding, and if you look for it as for silver and search for it as for hidden treasure, then you will understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God. For the Lord gives wisdom; from his mouth come knowledge and understanding. Prov. 2:1-6 (NIV)
Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight. Prov. 3:5-6 (NIV)
Come to me all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Matt. 11:28 (NIV)
You are my hiding place; you will protect me from trouble and surround we with songs of deliverance. Ps. 32:7 (NIV)
Jesus said “…how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings…Matt. 23:37 (NIV)
What time I am afraid, I will put my trust in you. Ps. 56:3 (NIV)
Make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge. II Pet 1:3-4 (NIV)
FB What is your first reaction and solution to a problem. Click on: https://ruthmcrobertsward.com/spontaneously- running-from…. or to.../and to view Kurt ’s garden scene.