For 11 years we had over 50 different people live in our home with us. Yes, the experience was crazy and yes, we have enough stories to write a volume of books 🙂 . Today I want to share one of the most extreme and funny stories from our time there.
I was often awoken in the middle of the night. It could have be 3am recording studio sessions at full volume – forgetting that maybe people sleep at night time. Or games of killer pong that couldn’t remain silent any longer. Well, on this day I awoke and had a thought that maybe one of my guys was going to be sneaking out. So I got up, put on black clothes, and went outside to try and observe and catch what was going on in our basement.
It was funny because it didn’t take 10 minutes and two of my boys were leaving the house! What was a little odd is that they weren’t trying to be sneaky, but they were definitely leaving the home! So, I hid behind the shadows of a small tree! They had no idea – and that was the best!
If you are thinking – or poor Donavan – having to be up in the middle of the night – get that idea out of your mind! When you have teen and young adult guys living with you – you are hoping that you will have a crazy story to tell. Nothing better then busting a couple of guys. I was fully anticipating that they were going to be picked up to go to a party – and little did they know that ‘Dad’ was invited to the same party – rolling in with his hot mini-van. I was excited about the potential spectacle, the awkward stares, and 2 young men sheepishly putting their heads down in shame as they walked the Via Dolorosa.
As they walked around the east side of the house – I scurried around the west. They got to the highway and I made the decision to try to get to the ditch. I wanted to be close enough to see who was picking them up – and then I was going to grab the van and follow. But as I was moving towards the ditch one of the guys saw me – or a shadow. And he shouts out ‘hey, who is that?’ I slowly move backwards into the safety of the shadows.
They both begin to walk towards the area I had disappeared into – and I moved deeper into the tree line. I eventually climbed under a struggling spruce and hugged the trunk. The boys came over and I heard such taunts as ‘Donavan? Donavan? Is that you?’ ‘Listen, I am just telling you if you are someone trying to do something do Donavan and his family, I will beat you so bad.’ ‘You can’t think you can walk onto our property and not have a bunch of guys ready to take you.’ ‘Donavan, if that is you, you better tell us now – because I don’t want to hit you – but if you don’t tell me and I find you, I will be swinging.’ All the while they are walking around in this very small bush – and I was wondering what I was going to do if they actually found me. I thought I would wing it – fight or not 🙂
Then one of the guys stops talking and hides for a moment. And then a little bit of panic kicks in for the one shouting the remarks. “Hey, where are you? Is this a joke.” I thought it was genius. It was a fantastic turning point! The other guy eventually appears and I continue to hug the tree. At this point he has walked passed me a few times and my heart is ponding with excitement.
And then it happens – he bumps into me with his leg. He stops and I wonder! Bam! Everything changes. I push him down, get up, and run!!! I take off like an old man that realized this was the reason he should have been training for the last 6 months. But NO, I was on a break year :). Anyway, I ran – FAST!! And the chase was on. I took off towards the highway and bolted across. There was a car somewhat close – and all I heard was – “Wow, that was close – I almost got hit. Knowing that he was alive – I thought I had bought myself some time. So I ran.
While running I am wondering what kind of game I had embarked on! I was now trying to run with an odd step and some kind of a limp. I didn’t want him to know it was me! I ran over a half a mile – till I saw a forest – and I made a straight line run through a yard, and into the loudest bush I had ever been in. Every step was the cracking of sticks and leaves. It was the dead of night, I had run through private property, and narrowly escaped into God’s protective woods….OR…
NOPE!! Close behind were the guys. I was likely 20 feet into the woods when I stopped moving. They were yelling at me that they were going to catch me. They threatened that this was not going to be a good night for me. I was breathing so heavy – I actually believed that they could hear my every breathe. I didn’t know what to do – I was likely going to be caught. And then I heard the sound of my savior. It was a semi truck coming down the highway. As it approached, it drowned out all the additional sounds my heart, feet and lungs were making. The silence was broken – and I was given a 3 second window to run a few more steps into the woods. Within the next few minutes a couple of more semi’s went by. It was enough for me to make my narrow escape.
I could still hear the boys talking and taunting. But I was now safe on the other side. So I started to run again. I wanted to make it home before the boys:). The goal was to sneak back inside – and then when they came home – I would come out of the bedroom in my underwear and ask them what was going on. I wanted to hear their story of this big bad guy – who had guns and knives – and how they heroically protected our family:)
I ran as hard as I could. I went through fields – dodging between bales. When I thought I had run far enough, I began trekking back to the highway. I couldn’t believe how far away I had run from the highway. I thought I was running straight east – turns out I was also running north. I came across fence lines, dug outs, cattle, bushes and the like. Eventually emerging behind a trucking business. I had ran all the way to Steinbach :). I guess I was getting back into shape after all.
I proceeded to walk home. I crossed the highway and walked in the shadows of the trees once again. As I approached our home – I could see the lights were on in the kitchen. I was at my neighbors house – and I snuck through his backyard. And just then – WHAM!!! – his auto censored lights clicked on. I was exposed!! I just about filled my pants!! I was imagining the story I was going to have to tell him about why I was now the creepy guy in his backyard. I ran behind a tree – waited for the light to go off and took another detour to get home.
I saw the boys inside laughing and eating nachos. Now all I needed to do was wait them out and sneak back in the house. I proceeded to walk around the outside of the house, lowering my blood rate and thinking about the funny excursion that just happened! Then it all changed. As I walked around a corner of the house I literally walked right into the guy who had been chasing me. He came back outside on a hunch – and we just stared at each other 🙂
He looked at me and said ‘it was you!’ I responded with ‘what? ‘I heard a bunch of commotion out my window, so I got out of bed to see what was going on.’ I tried to say this in my most tired voice. We had some small talk and went inside!
I can’t remember when we talked about it. That night or the next day. But I do remember howling in laughter over the fun event! Such a ridiculous adventure :). For just a couple of hours I felt what it was like to be chased, assumed I was bad, and knowing that the people chasing me weren’t trying to kill me 🙂 Sure wouldn’t be a peaceful life – but adrenaline filled? Oh ya!!
Anyway, why do I share this crazy story? Well, when I was thinking about the pursuit of God last night this story came to mind. These young guys didn’t know who they were chasing or why! They didn’t know if I was dangerous, strong, fun or wanting to lure them away. They were just enjoying the chase.
I often wonder how much longer they would have chased had they had any sense of a reward. What if they knew that if they caught me there would be a reward for protecting my home? Or what if they knew I carried a map to a treasure – a map I had stolen! Would they have fought harder to get the prize?
What is it that motivates us?
If we really knew what the LOVE of God was truly like – this would be the greatest of treasures we could ever know. But what if we haven’t yet experienced the love of God – but only heard people or observed other peoples intense, real, honest love relationship with God. Would that be enough to search for the treasure?
What reward is necessary – eternal life? Knowing the one who even thought of the idea of the universe and all that is in it?
The kingdom of heaven is like a man finding a treasure in a field. And upon finding it – sells everything he has and goes and buys the field. The treasure is a true relationship with God. You find the Kingdom of God on this earth! You experience part of Heaven here!
And once you have the treasure – you take it with you everywhere that you go – and you never run out of treasure to share!