Sunday, February 13, 2011

The Day I Ran Away From Home : A Love Story

I stood at the front door, looking out over the cold wet lawn. It had been a soggy couple of weeks. Overhead, the sky stretched wide and gray. The big oak, stripped barren, pointed crooked fingers toward the heavens as if pleading for the sun’s warmth. I echoed that sentiment. Would the sun ever shine again?

I don’t know what came over me, but in that moment, I longed to run away from home, to an exotic place filled with sunshine and sea, where no one knew my name, where the wind blew through my hair, and umbrellas were used only for shade.

Have you ever wished, even for a split second, to drive off to places unknown, alone? To a place where you don’t have to deal with the same old issues that keep turning up through the years, seemingly never to be resolved?

There was that time I actually did run away, sort of. The details went something like this.

It was late one evening. I don’t recall what started it, but The Man and I had a very big and ugly argument. We both said things we didn’t mean and, in the end, I said, “I’m leaving,” and he said, “Good. The sooner, the better.”

I threw a few things in a small suitcase and slammed the door behind me, not having a clue where I was going. After driving in circles for several minutes, I stopped in at my local grocery to pick up some personal items I’d forgotten to pack, in my heated rush to get out of the house.

But before I got down the first aisle, my cell phone rang. It was my daughter calling. Grown and living in her own place, she was unaware of the situation. I answered the phone and she said, “Hey, Mom. Where are you?”

Instantly, I knew she knew. Something in her voice gave it away.

“Hey, sweetie. I’m out for a bit. What’s up?”

“Well, where are you?” Persistence is her middle name.

“Just out. Why?”

“Mom, Dad is worried about you.”

“How can he be worried about me? I’ve been gone a total of 20 minutes. Did he call you?” I was perturbed.

“No, he didn’t call me. I called and asked to talk to you and yes, he is really worried about you.”

“Well, he should have thought of that sooner,” I said, my anger returning, remembering all of the hateful things he’d spouted. “Listen, sweetie. I really need to get off the phone. You can tell your dad that I’m fine. I’m just fine. I love you, and I’ll call you tomorrow.”

I hung up and lingered in the store, trying to get my thoughts together. I had money, so I decided I’d go to a nearby hotel and attempt to get some sleep. Lord knew I needed it.

By the time I paid for my purchases, it was much later than I liked to be out alone. I’d parked a good distance from the store and practically ran to my car. Once inside, I locked the doors, cranked the engine, and started to drive off.

But I couldn’t see out. A large square of white paper was stuck under my windshield wiper. What on earth?

As my eyes adjusted to the dark, it became clear. There, on a piece of paper, drawn with a black marker, was a big heart encircling these words: “Please come home!! I miss you! I love you!”

Before I could process it all, a truck pulled up alongside of me. Hanging out the window was none other than my husband. Apparently, he’d called out the search party. Beside him, grinning from ear-to-ear, sat my daughter.

And that’s when I started laughing. I laughed so hard I cried. Despite my best efforts to run away from home, the wild and zany man who loved me had somehow managed to track me down. I couldn’t very well leave now, not with him sitting there with puppy-dog eyes.

As I followed him out of the parking lot, I realized how foolish we’d been, arguing over insignificant things, and how blessed I was that the man I loved most in the world loved me back and had come looking for me and found me, and was leading me home again.

The consciousness of loving and being loved
brings a warmth and richness to life that nothing else can bring.
~ Oscar Wilde


On February 10, 2014, Edie said, "Tell us your real marriage stories," so I picked this one. 
This story also appears in Chicken Soup for the Soul Married Life.


  1. Stories like this is why I love you so much! Real girl living a real life and growing and encouraging right along side each of us! Happy Valentine's Day to you and your beloved!

  2. This is a story that all newly weds should read. To know that there are bumps in a marriage. And to know that it is OK to say I'm sorry and to SHOW love.
    Great Valentine's story.

  3. What a sweet story!!!
    And with a happy ending!!
    Thank you for sharing!

  4. So sweet! This put a smile on my face today. Hope you have a sweet day with your sweetheart!

  5. I love this story! It reminds me of God's love that pursues us and never gives up. And it also reminds me of my own hubby and his persistence in loving me. Happy Valentines Day!

  6. Hi Dayle: That was a great story. It made me laugh and cry, and those are good signs of an effective writer! Happy Valentine's Day! Susan

  7. Oh how this blessed me....It is amazing sometimes isn't it the silly things we argue about with SUCH anger? haha ENJOY your day with your sweetie! HUGS

  8. This is a sweet story and you have a very wise husband and daughter!!!

  9. Oh I think anyone of us married for many years can relate to this : ))
    Congrats on 30 yrs. we are right behind you at 29

  10. Oh my goodness .... this is the best-est Valentine's story I think I've ever heard. Three cheers for The Man and his Lady!

  11. I'm so glad he found you and you didn't run away!!
    Dayle this is precious. So many of us can relate, I'm sure!
    Emotions are powerful things - but true love is invincible! Praise God!
    grace and joy..Trish

  12. Dayle:

    What a beautiful Valentine's story. Me thinks "The Man" is a romantic. :) Thank you for sharing that, even when two people love one another, difficulties can arise.

    Blessings and Happy Valentine's Day,

  13. I love this post. Real life, all marriages have ups and downs!


  14. I CAN NOT believe that I missed this post.
    I needed to read it, and I loved being able to relate to you yet again. *Most* of my runaway notions aren't really running away from a fight as much as running away from IT all.

    Lately, I feel like that entirely too often. I would run and take the man with me, but I'm pretty sure he would rather stay away from the mood that gets me running.

    I couldn't help but think of my relationship to a loving God who has called out the search team and tracked me down more than once.

    This is wonderful. I'm glad that sister of yours gave you some recess time to write it.

  15. I never have actually run away but I have wondered once or twice what it would be like if I did. It's good to know I'm not the only one. So glad your man came after you and brought you home! I like a story with a happy ending.

  16. I think I'd be too chicken to actually run away. So glad you could laugh at yourself and followed them back home!

  17. I always laugh, smile and cry at this story. Love it, and love YOU!

  18. Aarguments will always be there but love will never fade.

  19. That's so sweet. Gosh, I think many of us have been there at one time or another.


Dear Readers, I adore your company and your comments. If you ask questions here, I respond to them here, so please check back when you have a chance. Kind regards, Dayle