Running Free

 “I want to see my friends,” Tina announces after we’ve dropped Maria off at work. “I’ll show you where they live.”

“Hmm,” I think. “This should be interesting.” Tina has no friends in this part of town, and at five and a half she has a way to go before she’s a professional navigator.

But we have time, and I play along. Neither of us knows where we’re going, and Tina doesn’t know enough to tell the driver which way to turn before they reach the corner. She also says “Turn right” and points left!

It’s a circuitous route. Finally we arrive at a field near a construction site almost back where we started, just west of Maria’s workplace. Tina jumps out of the car to see her friends.

A field of friends! The yellow flowers are her friends, and so are the white ones. And the little thistle–she’s careful not to step on it–and the foxtails. Tina loves the foxtails, running through them and enjoying the soft brushes of long, softly colored grass on her arms.

A car stops near mine and a man gets out and starts walking toward us. I’m a little nervous. This is a big field, and there are just the three of us, the man coming our way, Tina and me. I send up a prayer, take out my cell phone and start walking toward him–and away from Tina.

My nervousness evaporates as I see how young he is and how gentle he looks, and read “Security” on his shirt.

 “How are you today?” he asks.

“Fine,” I answer, “but I think you’re nervous about us.” I explain that this little city girl is fascinated by the flowers. He’s fine with that, but asks us to stay away from the dumpsters.

Tina delights in running along the ruts made by the heavy equipment, and leaping from rut to rut. “Follow me,” she calls, wondering why I walk rather than run.

Tina sleeps well that night after the Bible story, and I give thanks for the little girl who counts foxtails and flowers among her friends.

“Warn the rich people of this world not to be proud or to trust in wealth that is easily lost. Tell them to have faith in God, Who is rich and blesses us with everything we need to enjoy life.”

I Timothy 6:17 (Contemporary English Version)

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