Life issues: The Runaway
The thought that life could be better…
In the Runaway, Samuel is tired of living in his small town. He has no desire to take over the family bakery. He is bitter because he often gets into trouble.
Samuel dreams of travelling to the end of the earth. It is here that he thinks life will be substantially better, the world seems to offer so much more than his little town. He looks up at the swallows from his village stocks and wishes he could follow them to wherever they are going.
Samuel’s dreams of travelling begin to be realised when he joins a travelling troupe and journeys long distances, honing his skills as a performer. Along the way he comes to realise that his life had actually been pretty good before. Josiah reprimands Samuel for continuing to think that life will always be better beyond ‘the mountain’ and not living for the moment. With this attitude it is likely that Samuel will never truly find what he is looking for.
During his time with the travelling performers, Samuel develops in his maturity. He realises, perhaps, that life is as much down to attitude as anything else. Even after reaching a high standard in his juggling, he decides to go back to what he had before – what was special to him all along, which was Ruth, his family and friends.
A lot of people feel stifled in their surroundings. It happens to young people all of the time. Often they have to leave home to realise the positives of their original position. Going without for a while can be a good way of realising just what you have got and how lucky you are.
For example, in Australia and New Zealand, each year thousands of young people travel to Europe. Australasia is a long way form the rest of the world. These people long for all that Europe offers – particularly the excitement and the culture. Many of them return after a few years, having matured and gained from the experience.
Just as in Samuel’s case, the experience has been invaluable but they also come to realise just what they actually have at home – in the example of the Aussies and Kiwis, the clean, green, open and safe environment.
Much the same thing happens elsewhere in the world as young people leave rural small towns for the excitement of big cities. They are attracted by the thought of something better. Over time, many come to appreciate what it was that they had before.
One thing they are likely to really miss is family. There certainly is no place like home when it is here that the people you really care about are. Samuel realises that spending time with his loved ones is perhaps more important than always striving to achieve something better.
To achieve anything worth doing, it usually requires a sacrifice. If your family and friends are part of this sacrifice, sometimes you have to weigh up the pros and cons of the situation. Samuel was starting to achieve his goal of success as an entertainer, but at what cost? Perhaps he imagined himself in the future, 10 years down the track, and asked himself where do I want to be then?
He may have come up with two choices:
1. A capable entertainer but a lone, capable entertainer continuing to try and achieve his greatness
2. A baker in a small town, surrounded by friends and family – not exactly life in the fast lane- but a degree of happiness and contentment is to be had.
He made the choice and went down the second road. He realised perhaps that he was continuing to try and find happiness by working towards the first option, when he already had it by living the second.
Do you recognise this situation?
Another example may be taking up a hobby. Within 10 years you could be very good at that hobby but you have to weigh up the sacrifices you may have to make to achieve this. Is it worth spending less time doing something that you really enjoy just as much? Is there a compromise where you can do both?
We all have these choices to make and Samuel certainly made his. The thought that life could be better is ingrained into many of us; we sometimes don’t realise all the good things we’ve got. Perhaps we should look around us, appreciate the happiness in the relationships that we have, all the positives that surround us… and live for the moment.