When I close my eyes, I am running to the playground under the high summer heat of Tennessee sky. I am not trying to lose weight. No. Never that. If anything, I have to try to gain more weight. This is not my regular exercise regime that I practice to stay in shape physically or mentally. It would definitely help and I have been a regular runner for years by then, but on that day, as I’ve done every day during that summer season that I spent in Tennessee, I am running because it is the only thing that my heart desired. In my ears, a song “Forever Reign” by One Sonic Society is playing, singing “I’m running to your arms, I’m running to your arms”. I have that song on repeat throughout my entire run. I listen to that song all the way to my parents’ house where I have stayed during my recovery from yet another depressive episode which have relocated me from my heavenly Hawaii life to a life in Tennessee. Here I was, back in Tennessee, after fighting so hard to get better, to have a better grip on life, to find a world where I could finally be at peace and feel like living. Yet again, all have failed and my depression have prevailed. That year, I was running again, away from the reality, away from the pain in my heart and mind. Every day, I wanted to escape, to vanish, and to end. And the only desire that kept my heart beating for life was this: running in the deathly hot heat of Tennessean summer and listening to this song Forever Reign.
This song resinated with me so vigorously. I literally felt like I was running to His arms where I can escape, vanish and end it all. I was running to my final Home, where no mental pain, no emotional suffering, and no fear exist. I cried tons of tears every day on my run. I would finally reach the playground and climb up to the top of the slide. I would cry some more there and run back, feeling spent and exhausted, while the song continued to play keeping my suicidal urges under control.
I don’t know why my mind is recalling those runs now. It’s been almost a decade since that summer. I now have a family, settled in a town where I am blessed with all four beautiful seasons. The summer here is not blazingly hot like it was in Tennessee and it is not even summer here yet. We are barely getting out of the strong grip of winter, inching toward a new season of spring. But when I close my eyes, I can vividly see myself running, sweating, crying in the heat of those depressing summer days. I hear this song playing over and over again, particularly that part going “I’m running to your arms, I’m running to your arm”.
The funny thing is, I have no desire to run nowadays. I am so content, happily settled here in my house. For the first time in my life, I have this deep seated feeling of being grounded. It’s like certain roots have been planted. Strangely, it comes with a sense of hope of looking forward to what will sprout. It’s a hopeful feeling in a very healthy sense. Oh, I’ve always been that hopeful child, don’t get me wrong. But they were merely in the forms of dreams that I could accomplish to reach the level of success that the world recognizes. It was the kind of hope that would leave me feeling deprived and depressed unless It was achieved. But this hope I am feeling on this very verge of spring’s arrival is different. It’s not a hope against hope. It’s a hope in hope. It’s a hope that keeps me feeling alive in this very present moment. It’s a hope that gives you life. It’s a hope that gives you rest.
When I close my eyes, I feel the warmth of the unusually warm sun on these last days of winter caressing my face. The backyard birds are out seeking for food, flying about chirping their beautiful morning songs. I hear some neighbor’s dog barking in the distance. The world is awakening. I feel God’s embrace surrounding me, enveloping me with his secure, strong, and fierce love. Even in the dark tunnel of depression I find myself in, I no longer feel alone, desperate, or fearful. The beauty of life is not lost on me, even during those dark times. His love shines even brighter especially during those dark times. I now no longer run to His arms. I am in His arms. And in these arms, the riches of His love will always be enough.
When I close my eyes, I meet my old, suffering self. It’s the same me, only a decade younger. And I tell her, keep running, you are going the right direction. You will arrive into the arms of God, of the one you are hoping for. So keep running to His arms. Just keep on running.