By Kenneth Stepp
I ran away from home when I was young. I wasn’t that young, I was 15 and bored with being a part of my family. Looking back, my parents must have been scared and hurt. I lived on the street with others like me and did whatever was necessary to survive. I learned many things about myself in those days. In reflection, I knew I would always survive. It made me tougher.
I am a mature single man. Mature because of my age, saying a man is actually mature is more of a working theory. If I find myself on a jet ski, I’m still going to say things like, wee, watch me, and this is so cool. The little boy in me is always just below the surface ready for the Wayback machine to reappear.
Having mentioned the mature single thing, I will admit that I study my fellow travelers in this community. They fascinate me. Ok, we fascinate me. Most of our stories are the result of or the desire to, run away. I’ve done it. Someone gets a little too close that doesn’t feel safe, my running shoes begin getting warmed up. In no time, I’m gone.
What is your story about running away? I believe many of us use running away as a default action. Caring for someone makes us vulnerable. And being vulnerable has caused all of us pain. It can’t be helped. Those of us that did not lose the love of our life by death have had our heart broken by someone still alive. We hope to get that part of our heart back while knowing we can’t.
I ran away once when I was married as well. Counseling, weekly dates, books, and friends trying to help had failed. One day I went to my office and opened up to my general manager and friend. He said, you need a break. He was wise and smart. He’d worked for me for about four years by then and had become a close friend. We took in a lot of cash that day and that gave me an idea The plan was to vanish.
I had a spare phone no one was using at the time. I took the cash and the spare phone and headed to a beach resort in Florida. I left my phone with my friend. That way everyone would know I was ok but unavailable. By the second day I felt awful. I felt I had no value to my wife at all. But at the same time, I missed her so much. I called the counselor we had been seeing for a few years. He helped me get centered again and I went back home.
Running away in any form will always serve a purpose. If you unpack the spiritual aspects it can be an infinity of purposes. I left and missed her, she was afraid she lost me, the distance and silence actually changed us both. Where I was sure she did not appreciate me, I felt appreciated again. Where she felt being alone may be better, she experienced loneliness and it hurt. Of course what God did with my childish endeavor was profound as well.
Perhaps you are in the middle of a run and wondering what will come out of it. My answer would be good and bad. When I was a boy and ran away, I experienced some very bad things but they made me a much better person. When I ran away as a pseudo mature man, it brought both pain and healing. You see, both good and bad results come with every decision we make. Perhaps it’s the yin and yang thing or maybe we were created in a very complicated way to do great things.
I even ran away From God once. Ok, a couple of times. Once I doubt anyone noticed, so I’ll talk about the other. A little over seven years ago. My marriage had fallen apart, financially we were destroyed, and those I loved the most had turned their back on me. To say this run was my hardest would be an understatement. It was also my longest run. Having said that, I learned so much about myself, my faith, and the value of friends. Totally worth doing but never again.
Running away solves nothing but can result in solutions. There I go with the “complicated’ thing again. These days instead of running away, I distance myself from almost everyone. I take my breathing room and crawl inside of my head and begin tuning it up a little. My hope is that it makes me the kind of man my girl will want at the right time. Yes, timing matters. Enjoy the ride guys, protect your heart but don’t put armor over it.