Pull up a chair, grab a drink. We need to talk, you and I, about running.
Not the running you do to lose weight or when you’re sick to your stomach about how your pants fit or you look at your arms and realize how weak and pasty, how flaccid and lifeless they have started looking. Not the kind of running you do when someone blows a whistle and you want what’s on the pedestal for the winner. Not the kind of running you do between important things, between commitments or the needs you have pressed onto your heart and soul… or day planner or smartphone. I’m talking about the kind of running you don’t ever want to talk about.
The type of running that makes you unwilling to take a shower on your day off, because being clean and prepared to go out isn’t you and you know it. The type of running that makes you keep scrolling down Facebook or aimlessly moving from room to room around your house without getting anything done. They type of running that keeps you checking the fridge over and over, knowing that what you’re hungry for isn’t in there. The type of running that is a silent scream, where you will accept anything except facing the truth of something that’s going on.
Maybe for you it’s facing your family, since you know you’ve let them down or have bridges to rebuild or maintain.
Maybe for you it’s procrastinating, since you have an image of yourself as creative or inspiring, visionary or full of potential and you have lived in your current life long enough that you realize that no, that’s not who you are— you don’t do anything with those thoughts and dreams, you don’t produce anything on par with your potential at all.
Maybe for you it’s cutting off something you’ve become addicted to: a significant other that is not assisting your growth, a group of friends who lure you into irresponsibility, a job that separates you from your time and energy and keeps you from living the life you want to live, a lifestyle of lethargy or a fetter of lust for things that you keep out of your reach because you’re guilty or you’re not deserving or you’re afraid of how empty those goals will feel when you achieved them or you’re afraid that they’re too low for your potential and you’re paralyzed with fear over what that even means.
The talk is simple: I don’t want to run from you any more than I want to run from myself. Stop running. Your life will change. Who you are will change. You will receive a definition of you, living and breathing with your every motion instead of a thought or a dream, an idol or an image. There’s a solidness in that which right now you crave but you’re so in love with a gossamer dream, a luring pretty phantom of lights and right now you’re the sort of person who’d rather try to grab a rainbow or look away than to be a real person. You’d rather play a puppet to someone else’s tune than grab the reins on the neck of the horse, mount up, and ride. You don’t want to be that person, not really, or we wouldn’t be having this conversation.
Make no mistake, this is a conversation we’re having right now as you’re reading this. Your mind is throwing up sand and chaff but do you really think your questions are legitimate? I know how powerful you are, and I’m not about to let you tell me a lie. Not now.
Stop running long enough to sink to your knees. Set a day aside to stop running. Don’t take a blessed step on the track. Brush your teeth. Go for a walk. Set the cellphone aside. Make a cup of tea. Sit in silence. Have this conversation with me. Join me, and live the life you actually want. It can start right now and I hold here before you the glowing tomorrow.
If you take it, you have my support. It’s not easy to change like that, to stop doing something you may’ve done since you were old enough to make choices… But if you don’t take it, you have my pity.
And I hope I have yours in that way. I know full well how pitiful I am when I start running from myself, attacking myself, allowing the walls to grow cracked and fall, the fields to go to seed, the wild to take back over an area that I am too afraid to tend to properly. It’s a shame, like a bruised cheek in a young person that should carry the pink of hopeful life but carries the ugly stain of a dead dark thing. I know what it looks like when I do it, and I want to hear the truth from you about myself.
I know all the lies I love to hear; tell me something true and shock me. Tell me something true and make me see instead of stumbling blindly, hoping to get lucky with what my hands come across.
Wonder why I would sit and talk with you like this? We aren’t the closest of friends, sure, but that doesn’t mean you’re beneath my thoughts or notice. It doesn’t mean I want you to keep running, forever chased through the maze of your own machinations by the Minotaur of truth that you don’t think you can face. Stop running, go back, kill it, and make a delicious burger for lunch, steak for dinner, and breakfast the next day and don’t stop eating until you’ve grown strong.