When I was younger I went on a camping trip with friends. We were walking aimlessly around the campgrounds when out of nowhere a huge dog appeared. Sunlight that had warmed our faces felt cold in that second and the trees faded away as I stared into eyes intent on harming us. I started to turn to run when my friend’s father placed his hand on my shoulder and told me..
“Running is the worst thing you can do.”
Shaking like a leaf I stood my ground with the others. The dog growled a few times and then sauntered away.
Recently I forgot that lesson.
I’ve never been one for confrontation, but running is indeed the worst thing you can do.
In the course of my divorce (Yes, that rhymed….and even though serious…I giggled) I have been running. Running from being hurt. Running from confrontation.
There were days I felt so overwhelmed that pacing the house wasn’t good enough. I would pack up the kids in the van and drive. I knew I was running, but I couldn’t escape the wild instinct that running would get me somewhere. In my running I also withdrew. I pushed family and friends away. I refused to share what was going on (mainly cause I didn’t even know what the heck was going on) I pushed my writing away because I was afraid of what would come out. My camera bag began to attract a layer of dust. I withdrew from conferences. Denied speaking engagements. Dropped sponsors.
I felt that dog behind me, but still I ran.
Then came another dog.
My newest family member, Tucker has forced me to stop running from “the dogs” and instead get down and play.
It’s impossible to withdraw when there is someone drooling on your favorite book, bringing you a ball to play fetch with or a leash for a walk. He’s helped my kids and I to reconnect over a slobbered bone and a fur-ball wrestle session. As we throw the ball down the hardwood hallway; we collapse in fits of laughter as he slips and slides into door frames. When we go to the park for walks, he forces me to reconnect with people as everyone has to stop and scratch behind his ears. On a day that I was steaming with anger, he cooled me off by letting me go for a mild swim with him at the duck pond (by the way…be careful when you take a lab to a lake with ducks and always make sure you can let go of a leash quickly if needed) Nights that I am feeling alone and rejected, he has placed his big block head on the side of the bed and reassured me with blowing the nastiest doggy breath ever on my face that I am far from alone. (Thankfully, he will chew on an offered peppermint)
Above all, he doesn’t run.
When faced with something he doesn’t understand or might be scared of. He stands tall and firm. His tail might shiver and he may look to me for encouragement, but he doesn’t run.
I’m not running anymore. I will no longer shrink from confrontation or things that scare me. I may shiver a little or look to my friends and family for encouragement, but I will stand tall and firm.
I know many of you that are reading my blog have a “dog” staring at you.
Running is the worst thing you can do..
*Image credit for picture #1: http://www.flickr.com/photos/stuant63/2255781557/