Fidgety. A little too loud. The jokester that never stops joking.

Angry. Pensive. Sarcastic at the expense of others.

Sullen. Closed-off. Not willing to be vulnerable in communication.

There are many ways in which people avoid their own painful memories, regretful actions or other nagging recollections. Instead of facing difficult thoughts, understanding them, seeking healing and then moving forward, they run away. And continue running. You can usually tell when you are in the presence of someone who is running because there is a veneer over his/her personality: some invisible wall or distance, the map through which seems impossible to read.

I wrote the following poem to remind myself, and anyone else that has a runner in their lives, to remain patient, kind and loving. Try not to give up on the runner. Instead, set up a water station and offer refreshment whenever you can.

The most exhausted I ever became in my own life was when I was running a race against my own mind.

Running Away.  By, Jill Szoo Wilson

No evil seen, not spoken, heard or felt

For he whose feet run faster than his mind

With quickened pace escaping danger dealt

By flattened tread of soles he left behind.

Perspiring hands are sweeping hair away

Like wipers on a windshield—this way, that

Frenetic clearing of his view allays

Inevitable stumbling—falling flat.

A rush of breath, a squeeze of pumping fists

First forward with the left and then the right,

Sure footing making pace but insides twist

As yesterdays invisibly indict.

His motivation shrinks into a freeze

He kneels, he waits, he stops the race, he sees.

–Jill Szoo Wilson

(Photo by Mike Shellim)