By Alison Climes
We ran as if we didn’t have to be home for dinner at a certain time. We ran as if running could take us away from any struggle. We ran around and around our yard, chasing the dog, yelling and giggling, and then collapsing into the grass when our lungs couldn’t take any more. We ran as if the houses of our friends could actually save us. As if the longer we stayed, the greater the connection to that family.
I later ran as if another country could take away what I felt in my own. And it did for awhile until it no longer did. Until I saw the challenge wasn’t moving somewhere completely new, but staying exactly where I was.
That was the difficult part- that I had already proven that I could go – to Nicaragua, to Spain, to Ghana, to Chile. Each time running as I left and dragging my feet to return to my routine, the outline of who I was supposed to be that I could stretch and pull and grow when I was gone. I ran as if the past couldn’t catch me, as if I ran fast enough and far enough, those feelings would never reach me across the ocean, on another continent. And they are still catching me, even as I stay.
Not even really staying, but at least in this country. Sadness and separation and loss and jealousy – all of these things I would rather not feel, but can no longer escape. Rather, I must stand straight – neither leaning back in fear nor pushing forward in aggression. Simply standing straight – like the trunk of a large tree remains strong, even when a storm is whipping it’s leaves and branches. I must stand and face them one by one.
I think back to the two little blonde girls running around in the yard, chasing their dog, somewhat oblivious to their surroundings, but unconsciously absorbing them all the same.
“You are strong, you are brave, you are worthy,” I tell them. You are each given a gift and it’s not the same.
Your gifts work well together – but you must work your hardest to never envy the gift that is not yours. To do so would be a waste of the one you already have.
They will look at me solemnly, but I will see the soft sparkle deep in their eyes. And then, we go back to running as if we don’t have a certain time to be home for dinner.
Eventually, we all run into ourselves.
For more self-study, The Urban Howl recommends Tears to Triumph: The Spiritual Journey from Suffering to Enlightenment.