When Running Away Calms Emotions

Stories for the Journey


Note: This week, I will be sharing stories of my emotional  journey. I think we often misunderstand or neglect emotional health. God has been working on this in my life. All of these are intended to tell what happened to me, not to tell you what to do. They are anecdotes NOT advice. You have your own journey and have to do your own research. Feel free to share your stories in the comments or in an email. I would love to read them! 

Every once in a while I get to the end of my rope. It usually feels like overwhelm. My kids call it “stressed”. One of them will say to me, “Mom, I think you need to go to the coffee shop.”

Or when I look at the tower of dishes in the sink and tears well, my husband will wrap his arms around me in his comforting way and say, “Why don’t you go out for awhile?”

I have found that on a certain night of the week after the supper hour but just before closing, a few local coffee shops are practically deserted. So I retreat there once in awhile with my journal and pen. I sit. I write. I pray. I sip coffee or tea. Sometimes I even throw in a little chocolate.

I find when I come back, I am ready to tackle the dishes or hug the children that did them for me while I was gone. I’m ready to greet my husband with a smile instead of tears. And I feel like I can last those moments until bed time.

One day, the “stress” came in the middle of the day. My husband was at work. I was due to teach in a couple of hours. And it seemed all of us were out of sorts. Bickering and wailing. Attitudes strewn about with the toys on the floor. And the ever-present dishes in the sink.

It was not coffee shop time, but I needed to run away. I knew I couldn’t leave the kids while I journaled in a remote place. So, I decided to have them run away with me.

We left our school books on the table, and I told everyone to get into the car. I think the ones with the particularly bad attitudes were a little afraid. But I wouldn’t tell them where we were going. I couldn’t because I wasn’t sure myself.

Ten minutes later, we found ourselves walking around a lake. In the middle of the school/work  day. And, not surprisingly, it was rather deserted. Just like my coffee shop.

The five of us walked along briskly, then we started to slow as our emotions subsided a bit. The kids picked up some bird feathers and unique rocks. I picked up the peace transferred through the gentle ripples of an afternoon lake. And I think the kids did, too. We returned home to a much better afternoon.

The lesson we learned that may just help you, too? Sometimes you need to run away before your emotions run away with you. Choose your location. It may not be a lake or a coffee shop. Just run and keep running until the peace comes back.

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