Courtesy of Vincent Van Gogh

When you are a young “Child of God,” in a family of his older children, no one tells you that being different is wrong. No one has to. You know it without words slithering into form or braving the wild storms that swirl in your head.

You shelter yourself. You hide behind notebooks, play sports, befriend a flute, or mother children that come long after you. But you don’t say who you are. You don’t show it, either.

Everyone has their opinion of what and who you will become. They design a life for you that encompasses change, but includes their beliefs and straying away from those would further alienate you from the flock.

Where does a sheep go when it’s afraid of losing its home?

Labels… You run away from them. It is easy to pass the ball or alley-oop it off to someone else and watch them dunk what you cannot. They land on their feet, relieved of the weight. You stand by witnessing what could be you, but fear of isolation is bigger than the removal of burdens.

So you cover yourself with words and lose yourself in their embrace. Layers of your past flood the pages. But you still haven’t said what needs to be said. Life is waiting for you to back it up.

Where does a sheep go when it’s afraid of losing its home?