I sometimes dream of running away. Here’s what I have so far: I find myself stressed out and overwhelmed, so I fling open the front door and take off at lightning pace. After about twenty feet, the details get all fuzzy. It isn’t the most well-thought-out dream, I admit. And, really, my endurance for running is only about two minutes long. But still, running away is one of my favorite dreams.
Truth is, I don’t really like running. I have bad knees, foot issues, and I hate the way my throat gets all dry. So I’ve surprised myself with my affinity for the treadmill. Before I was a parent, hopping on a treadmill was a boring alternative to going outside in winter (and if there’s one thing I dislike more than running, it’s outdoor winter activities). But not anymore.
Now, it’s so appealing that I feel a little guilty when I head out the door and go to the Y. I finish entire thoughts. (I forgot I had entire thoughts.) My heart rate rises for good reasons. The loud crashing sounds are infrequent and are not my responsibility anyway. Everyone cleans up after themselves – usually, quietly. They wait their turns. They maintain appropriate personal space. No one tries to climb up my leg or pokes me in the face while shouting “Eye! Ear!” And when I decide to stay for thirty or forty-five minutes, I’m usually finished exactly thirty or forty-five minutes later. It’s very grown-up and blissful and a little miraculous.
Ultimately, I don’t think escape is what I need. I think it’s rhythm. Space. Time to pray, and search out the foggy parts of my dreams. Time to engage my heart and muscles and brain all at once and let them take off together like unleashed pups. And when I’m done, I get to come home to my three-year-old and one-year-old, freshly bathed with hair that smells like strawberries, running little circles in footie pajamas because mom is home.
And that, I realize, is the perfect ending to my dream.