“All human beings should try to learn before they die what they are running from, and to, and why.” James Thurber, US author, cartoonist, humorist, & satirist, best known for his contributions to The New Yorker. (1894-1961)
Can you imagine how the world would open up for us if we knew the answers to these questions? To know, without a shadow of a doubt, what it is you are running to – with wild abandon, knowing you will be caught in the arms of whatever it is you pursue? Perhaps the art that is in you straining at the little seed of love where it dwells – waiting for the smallest nod of acceptance and joy from you – to burst into bloom.
There are so many things it could be; the thing we are running to. We get caught up in simply going through the motions of paying bills and running on the treadmill of oughts and shoulds and musts. And we are responsible people; so we take care of what needs to be done. This is good. This is right. This is proper.
How often do we stop to think about what we are running from, and to, and why? How often do we allow ourselves to ponder how big our life really is – how many people we affect along the way, how many people are watching us for clues of how to sort out their own lives, how much depends on us being okay in our own skin? And if even for a minute the thought of people depending on you for their well-being makes you cringe, take a deep breath. It’s time to get to work on you and your best interests for a minute.
Because people, sometimes young people, sometimes our own young ones are looking to us, it is imperative and a great privilege to spend some time deciphering some of life’s bigger questions. Let’s not look at self-discovery as one more chore, but as a way to breathe more life into our life, more love into every relationship we enjoy,
This morning, as I look out the window at work. I see the rolling hills of Southern Oregon, the patchwork of various fields, fence lines lined with trees, and farm houses dotting the scenery. There is one bright patch of freshly plowed earth. It is a little square of deep, rich brown amidst the softening green, almost tan of the late autumn, winter ground. Something about it makes me want to rush to it and scoop up the soil in my hands and breathe deeply the smell of fertile ground. Something is going to grow there and that is one of the loveliest things I can imagine.
Something is growing here. My spirit soars at that thought. I watch my children come up with new ideas every day, and I know that they are growing at a pace that will catch me by surprise someday and take my breath away. They will be off to explore the world on their own, and make decisions, and be grown-ups.
At this moment, in this place, I can say that I am running from anything stagnant. I am running toward growth because my imagination is a field that must be plowed on a regular basis. I need activity there. I need the richness of a seed pushed deep into the soil, where it sits and wraps itself in mystery for a time, and then with enough warmth from the sun and nourishment from the rain, it explodes into a dizzying display of outstretched arms and tendrils climbing, flowers bursting forth with filament, petals and pistils.
I am a garden ablaze with vibrant color and endless texture. I can get lost in the depth and brilliance of all the life that is there. It only took a moment of contemplation this morning, for me to be utterly grateful for the mind I dwell in, the gifts I have to give the world, to my own family and children specifically.
Beauty is within. Beauty is inside our hearts and souls and imaginations. Take a moment today to think about what you are running from, and to, and why. I wouldn’t take it so seriously as to get lost in a morose downward spiral. Perhaps think more of the running to – what inspires you, what makes you sigh happily when you think of it. It could be as simple as a warm cup of coffee with a friend. Some mornings that is what I am running to – and I think to stay in the moment – that is what we embrace. Some mornings I am running to the satisfaction of completing something big. I love the idea of starting my day with “what am I running from, and to, and why?” and waking up my heart to wonder and a brief moment of self-discovery.
Today I am in love with nature, the smell of fertile soil, and the pleasure of a fertile imagination. As odd as that may sound, that is my story for today, for this moment. I am running to the richness of Something is Growing Here. Oh, wrap that thought in mystery for a time and see what blossoms come Spring!