A few days ago the word ‘running’ came into my mind and sat down in front of me. I sat down in front of it and said, “I’m listening.” In reply, I heard this:
- You are running to something.
- You are running from something.
- You are running with something.
Before I the question could be asked as to which one I was doing, I replied with:
I’m running with something.
What am I running with, I asked myself.
My answer: knowledge, faith, hope
Knowledge is knowing what I’ve been through, where mistakes have been made, and why I have thought and felt the way I have.
Faith is in myself and my abilities, faith in the good in this world, and faith that I will persevere no matter what obstacles I have to overcome.
Hope is what I carry with me always, and especially as I go forward into an unknown future. Hope is what stands up to hate, fear, and cruelty.
Frankly, I was surprised by the thought that I’m running with these things. But as I thought about it over the last few days, I realize although I’m still prone to anxiety and fear I can keep them from taking over my life. I also realized the things I was running from, pain and fear, are things I have been working hard to deal with and put in their proper places and perspectives once and for all. And I’ve realized that as you run with the things you need, you are running to something you want.
What do I want?
Not just a career that’s driven by my work. I want to use my work and my words to help make this world a better place in my own tiny way.
I will admit right here and now that I still feel fear and anxiety over decisions I have to make big and small. I know the source of my fear and anxiety is from knowing that for so many years I lived with that at the forefront of my mind. I know in my past any confidence expressed or felt wasn’t really backed up in my mind with any real faith in myself.
But over the last few months, another thought has been kicking around in my head:
Everything that you thought was a sure thing wasn’t, and never was in the first place.
This thought actually came to me this past April on a morning run to downtown San Antonio at about five in the morning. I was driving by a strip bar that had been closed due to the initial lockdown because of Covid-19. In the past, places like bars and strip clubs could weather any economic downturn but Covid-19 has proven that’s not true.
I say there was no such thing as a sure thing because there wasn’t. Things like jobs were never guaranteed because I don’t know about anybody else, but I worked in a lot of places you could be fired pretty much for any bullshit they could come up with. Or worse, jobs where they would ‘manage you out the door’ (I actually heard that phrase one day in the last call-center I worked in).
I also know there was no such thing as a sure thing when my mother died of cancer at the age of fifty-three. She used to say she and my dad never saved for a rainy day because they didn’t think they would get one, and because you never knew what could happen in life. At times I’ve wondered if she was precognizant of the future she knew awaited her and my dad. In reality, I think she just knew there was no such thing as a sure thing.
So I’ve known there is no such thing as a sure thing for a long time. But I think I’m getting better at accepting that reality because I’ve stopped running from my past. I also know we are always in motion even when we might feel like we’re not. And though we may have a destination in mind, I think we need to try and realize that sometimes we’re going towards a destination that might not be on any map.