The Power of Staying

Life has been extra tough lately and my emotions have been all over the place. Tears are a sentence away in every conversation and sadness hangs heavy over so many things that are out of my control. All that I have wanted to do is run away, hide and pretend everything was different.

So, David and I loaded up at the last minute this weekend and spent a night and day in St. Augustine. No plans. No direction. Just the hope of regaining a bit of our sanity and spending some time together. We went on a couple of tours, ate lots of really, wonderful, fattening food, and bought the boys some knickknacks. It was relaxing, refreshing, and peaceful. I wanted it to last longer than it did.

            But I realized something as we escaped temporarily: when life gets hard and heavy, running away is my first impulse. I want to run away from the cancer and treatments. I want to run away from responsibilities and commitments. I want to run away from bills, decisions, emotions, and so many other hard things in my path. And for a while, I probably could. In a town like St. Augustine I saw so many places to easily hide. I could hide in food and sweets. Or I could hide in the bottle or cigars. Or I could hide in art or music. I could even hide on the ocean or river. I could take up new hobbies or make new acquaintances. And all of those things would temporarily satisfy my desire to run away; but after a while, those things all come to an end. The plate goes in the sink, the bottle runs dry, the music gets old, the fish stop biting, and people move on. Eventually, no matter how hard I could possibly run, I would have to come full circle and stare my own life right back in the face and deal with it. I would have to stay.

            So, here I am. Right now. Back at home and already staring my life in the face again. Out of my control. Beyond my comprehension. Filled with emotions. Spilling with questions. One day at a time. Here. Now. I can’t run. I can’t hide. I can’t wish any of this season away. But gosh I want to. I can think of so many places to run away to and even more places to hide. I even think I could be happy. For a little while. But then, the cycle would start over again and again, the pain would be shoved deeper and deeper, and nothing would have gotten easier. It would actually make things harder. Running is so much harder in the long run than staying.

            Life is hard, ya’ll, and running away just isn’t the answer. Pushing things aside, numbing the pain, stuffing the emotions, medicating the problems, or ignoring the issues are never going to work. The only way to plow through the tough stuff of life is to hit it head on, invite God to help, and stay. I am so tired of dealing with tough emotions, making hard decisions, and feeling out of control, but I am plowing through, headfirst. I’m desperately clinging to God. And I’m staying. When I’m sad, I’m sad. When I’m hurting, I’m hurting. When I’m not okay, I’m not okay.

            And. That. Is. Okay.  

             I may not know the answers now, but I will. This season won’t last forever. Victory will come. The days will get brighter. Hope will get stronger. And God is bigger. I just have to keep pushing, dealing, feeling and staying. One step at a time. One breath at a time. One moment at a time. Running will never be the answer. I must choose to stay.

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