The meltdown levels were at an all time high. I really couldn’t take any more screaming, crying, whining. Any more noise, really. My husband came through the door. It had been thundering and raining all afternoon, but I noted the current quiet (outside the house) and thought, “Surely, it’s wrapping up.”
I threw on some shorts, laced up my sneakers and told him I was going on a run.
“Are you sure that’s a good idea? With the rain and thunder and all?” he asked.
“It’s stopping,” I said. “And I have to get out.”
I hit the pavement, letting my legs ramp up quickly. I’ve run since I was barely double-digits. It’s never been about physical benefits; it’s always been an act of disciplining my mind and heart and soul and spirit. My feet went one after the other, jumping over the puddles. My brain was in overdrive, and I find that when I run my brain and feet race. My feet tha-thump to the rhythm of my brain’s activity, trying to catch up. My heart pounds, my breathing feels a little desperate, and then everything falls into rhythm. Running is putting it all into balance – lining up the speed of breath, heart, feet and mind.
The day was really exhausting, exasperating, one of those mom days where you really don’t think you can keep doing this. The sheer thought of waking up tomorrow to the same situation makes it quite hard to breathe.
The thunder clapped loud in my ear. I looked up at the trees. They’re taller than me, I thought. Just stay out of the puddles, I thought.
I crossed the road, not many people out in this storm, even in enclosed cars.
The rain felt like a shower: not cold, not annoying, just refreshing.
Then the storm kicked it up a notch, and so did I. I could barely keep my eyes open. The puddles widened to an expanse I could not cross in one leap. Splash into the puddle; lean into the storm.
God was taking a bucket of water and dumping it over my head. I thought, that’s okay. Fine. Wash it away. The anger, exhaustion, impatience, exasperation, desperation. The I can’t do this. The I’m going to lose my mind if there’s another tantrum today.
Somehow it is healing for the earth’s mood to align with mine: the sky shedding tears for me, the drowning feeling palpable.
It’s not the storm that’s the problem. That’s not where the terror lives. Leaning into a storm is just grounding enough to offer some relief.
It’s the build-up that’s terrifying. The feeling of desperation, the fear of total eruption. But leaning in, walking–or running–through, these things offer hope, healing, relief.
I rounded the last stretch and pushed my legs faster. I saw some lightning now. Apparently the storm was not winding down, so I didn’t either. But now the intensity felt like life, not suffocation, not exhaustion. Just life. With all it’s wild ups and downs, brights and darks, when life is like rain, we often don’t love it enough. We scowl at the darkness. Complain of the chill. Hunker down in defeat. But rain is life.
And maybe the best way to handle it is to run right into it.