Happiness is beneficial for the body, but it is grief that develops the powers of the mind.

~ Marcel Proust ~

Running Away

March 11th, 2014 ~ Est. reading time: 2 mins, 13 secs

The appeal of running away.

The appeal of running away.

Are you ready to run away now? Have you got everything packed? Or, are you still playing with the idea?

We all have times when the possibility of running away is mightily appealing. Why not? When times are tough and relationships fall out, it kind of makes sense. Well it feels like it does.

Wearing a dressing gown with a tasseled waist cord and slippers, I too ran away into the night. It was nearly nine at night and chilly, with a half moon overhead when I left. Silently lifting the latch of the backyard gate, I stole out, as if I’d never return. Running for a bit at first, in case someone started following, I started making ground. But it was still early and nobody noticed a thing.

Running away is exciting, promising an incredibly better life.  So it was for me, offering a solution to all my eight-year-old troubles. But in the end, after walking 15km (about 9 miles), I felt tired, hungry, and wet, for it had started drizzling. An escapee’s life never quite goes as planned.

In my case, I thumbed a lift home, standing by the side of a wide highway, in my damp dressing gown and slippers. And fortunately, blessedly, after half an hour, a kind young couple pulled over and, realizing the danger of the situation, took me straight home.

The psychology of escape is obvious enough. But the deception that running away is somehow easy is typically misleading. With feelings at their peak, high tailing away overcomes reason, and that’s when new troubles start.

Truth is the vast majority of situations require us to stay and sort out our problems (Aside from situations of domestic violence and abuse which are different due to the immediate risk). Ironically, you and I can find our freedom without going anywhere. Because, squaring off and facing our difficulties happens to be exactly where it’s at, thanks to with knee trembling cure called courage.

Relationships need healing not midnight exits. Financial, and work burdens need tackling with support, not a pair of running shoes and an overnight travel bag.

Facing our challenges takes guts, it’s true. And, while running away takes pluck, it fails to accept personal accountability and our power to do good.

With magical thinking, all our troubles will just go away if only we do. Only, when we do they don’t.

Wherever we run away to the situation stays. It remains back at home and in the mental “baggage” within us. So there is nowhere far enough. No place so concealed that it protects us from haunting thoughts. We must face our problems lest, in running away, they really get the better of us.

Mercifully, I had the kindness of strangers to thank for my safe return that dark drizzly night. But life isn’t always so benign, is it? Though initially running away is easy, the adventure of those first ready steps so often lead to deeper regrets.

Freedom is not about running away but comes when we dare to be our courageous selves. For it is in standing firm and facing our pain that we find our strength and peace.

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