I started running when we met. In the heart of winter I started to run, when the sun hung out with the moon, and the black gave way to blue reluctantly. I started running when you blazed in to my life and altered my direction, and in those early mornings as my feet marked time on the gravel I never ever knew if I was running toward you – or trying to run away.
Some days I would be chest out, pounding the ground proud, having my own little revival – I can do this, look at me go – I can be strong alone.
Other days, head down, I would feel the soft sadness like a new morning rain, and I would be running through it and in it, so slow as to almost stand still.
And one morning a few years in I just wanted to stop. Right there on the river I wanted to let my knees buckle from the weight of my decisions, and I wanted to lie down amongst the rotting leaves and yellowed grass and put my cheek against the dirt. The desire was sudden and complete. I was tired of running and when every road that I’d taken kept leading to my regret I had nothing left. And I nearly did it on that early morning but for one last defence that rose as suddenly as the desire. I understood the choice:
If you do this you will never get up again. You will lay down but the world will keep going, it will not adjust its pace just because you have stopped. People will run over the top of you, they have so many places to go that eventually they will not even notice you are under their feet. The day will give way to a week, a month, a year, and you will not have moved from this spot. Everything around you will be in constant motion. And you will be left behind. If you do this you will never get up again.
I kept going. I got up the next morning and I ran with a little more certainty, and the next morning, and the next. I kept going. Chest out, pounding the ground proud, I kept going. Even in the soft sadness, I kept going.
(I did want to run to you my love)
(Whitney Houston was my soundtrack on so many of those mornings, she fought back right when I felt like sinking under and every time I heard “I look to you” I felt just a little bit less alone with my struggles. I will carry her with me always)