Yesterday I got a message from my roomate, "Hey, Radley ran away this morning. Somebody picked him up and took him to the vet. Can you swing by on your lunch hour and pick him up?" I went by and got him, of course, and when they brought him out, he was excited to see me and, because he is a dog, completely unaware that he had done anything wrong by running. Now, you gotta understand, that it makes absolutely no sense for Radley to wander off. I mean, he's pretty much got as good of a life as any dog could hope for. He gets food and water whenver he wants, we tell him he's good (whether he is or not), we act like fools when we come home and he's excited to see us, and we pet, play with, and congratulate him and give him a treat, even when he takes ten minutes to meander his way in the house while we're calling him! And yet, he left. Weaving in and out of traffic on a busy street seemed like a better option. Letting someone, a stranger he didn't know, pick him up felt like a good idea. Being taken to the equivalent of "doggie jail," apparently was the better choice.
Now, here's the thing: I see a lot of myself in that little dog whose head I could have pinched off yesterday. I've got people in my life who love me. Who genuinely take an interest in me. Who want to know what's going on in my life, and when they see the junk and the sin, they still want to be there for me to help me walk through whatever trials and hardships I face. And yet, so often, my instinct is to run from them. To run from a place of safety, to a place of danger. To run from those who know me well, to those who don't and ultimately don't love me. To go and live, even temporarily, in a place I don't belong instead of being in the center of those that God has placed in my life to care for me and love me. Yep, I'm a lot like Radley, constantly having to resist the urge to run.
I just pray that there will continue to be people in my life who call, just like my roommate and I do to that little white dog, "Come back, buddy. Don't go there. Come back." And, when the guard is momentarily down, and I do wander off, I hope there will be messages sent, like the one sent to me yesterday, "Hey, he ran away this morning, can you go get him?" (And may I also be always willing to go get others when they wander off, no matter how often or far I have to go.)