All the ways to Run

Originally uploaded by benderson.

Are the reasons we run because it is far too much for us to deal with reality as it really is?
Is to be American, nothing more than to take advantage of the many ways, the numerous options we have at our hands to escape anything authentic enough to scare us?
Or is this bigger than options and America? Is this a matter of being human?

Starbucks, movies, TV, books, shopping, porn, food, politics, sports, the other person’s failures, the other person’s successes, travels, computers, technology, cars, cable, music, tragedies that happen elsewhere. And on, and on.

Are these means of escape?

If I become more concerned with who is going to be the next American Idol, how much am I even giving a hint of care for how I engage my wife, my children, my grocer, or even myself? Maybe if I get caught up in the, though real and painful, exploited drama of a natural disaster in another country then I won’t have to face the natural disasters in my own life that are the result of never honestly looking at why I am so angry all the time, or why it’s never green enough on this side of the fence.

For certain, we load our schedules with noise, and meetings, events and errands in order to do more than “feel” busy. We run. Even if it means our own demise we will run from the very good that is chasing us, which would catch us if we would just stop and sit still for a minute. The dogs of heaven often feel like the hounds of hell. Both bark, one barks to intimidate, the other barks to call attention to something bigger.

Nothing listed is bad or destructive in and of itself. It is how we use them that determine their worth. And if we are honest, we use them mostly because the idea of not having something other than myself to be present with…well….let’s not talk about that…I’ll have a tall, caramel, non-fat, double-shot, latte.

What would happen if before I ran I asked the question of the inevitable outcome of that which I am running to? How far would I get then? I might not even step out of my chair in that case. It doesn’t lessen the force of reality of my shit catching me and asking me to face it once and for all. It does, though, answer the question of whether I get busy living or get busy dying.

Turning to face reality sucks. No softening here. It sucks because it calls bullshit on all that I once thought would fill, satisfy, numb, distract. When the lights are off, and everybody’s gone home, I am left with myself. And what I find there might be the end of me.

OR it could be the beginning that has been beckoning to start ever since I breathed my first breath.

But unless I put the options aside, and all the ways I can run in the garbage can, I may never find out which it is. I will run. And eventually I will get weary, and that may not be until I am in the ICU with tubes in me and Doctors asking loved ones if they will sign the papers. Imagine what I could’ve been if I had used all that energy and determination in avoiding reality to have just turned and faced it. I might find the current isn’t so hard to walk against after all. I might find that there are extraordinary feats to be accomplished, places to go, people to know.

But I would never know unless I stop running…