“Some days I just want to run away, man…”
I thought for some time before responding, mainly because what came into my head wasn't an immediate response but strangely thoughts of how I would have responded some 13 or so years ago, or indeed how most would expect someone to respond.
So instead of answering with speculation, saying something like,
Really! Don't you love her anymore?
But what about your daughter!
That's not good, what's brought this on?
I said, “That's okay”.
Because “some days” doesn't mean every day, or even once a week, perhaps three times a year, maybe. And “run away” doesn't mean leave for good, and probably not even for long. It just means he needs some space. And that's perfectly natural.
We all have those days when things get on top and tip our scales too far one way. But instead of taking comfort in the knowledge that there are plenty of quiet corners we can run away to and re-center, we convince ourselves that it's wrong to want to do so. We being to feel guilty and trapped. But more often than not, these feelings are self-inflicted sufferance of the mind.
Not giving ourselves the space we need worsens things immensely, because it means we become irritable, snappy and even more stressed out.
Humans aren't meant to be caged, thus that beautiful saying, “if you love someone let them free..”.
We all need some time to get away from the daily grind, to release our spirit in a fresh pasture, to feel alive again, to reconnect ourselves with our God of choice. It's perfectly normal.
“Really? It's okay to want to be away from my family and go hiking for a few days, like I used to?”
“Of course. And I'm willing to bet even your wife feels like that sometimes. I bet she feels like that when the baby is crying non-stop and she's got a whole list of things to get done to keep the family happy”.
Of course, he'd never thought to ask. We rarely do.
Two days later he called me. He had told his wife how he felt and asked her how she felt, too.
This weekend his wife is going to stay with a friend for two nights that she hasn't seen in 18 months, since having the baby.
And my friend is going hiking with me the weekend after. To be honest I've never been on a hike, but I am happy to give it a go; earth knows my wife could do with the peace and quiet for a couple of days :).
Remember, the only place you're ever trapped is inside your head. Say how you feel, ask those you love how they feel, and take time out to unleash the human in you. It's important.