i just kept on running…

“My momma always said you got to put the past behind you before you can move on, and I think that’s what my runnin’ was all about”. – Forrest Gump

I am a huge fan of the Forrest Gump movie. Especially all the scenes involving him running. This pic (which I downloaded from Pexels and cropped for use here) reminds me of when he was running through the desert and then, after three years, two months, 16 days, and 14 hours…with a large crowd following him, he suddenly just stopped running.

Forrest Gump is one of those, obviously, too-good-to-be-true fantastical stories. But there are so many heartwarming moments throughout the entire film! And as someone who literally chased a girl onto the Cross Country team in high school, I guess you could say I can really appreciate a good movie about running. McFarland USA is also a favorite of mine, along with, of course, Chariots of Fire. Because like Eric Liddell, “When I run, I feel God’s pleasure”. Yes, as I age there’s also aches and pains, but still…it’s my favorite form of exercise.

Back to that Forrest Gump quote…

I can’t just put my past behind me and move on. While that is a great sounding true-ism, I don’t find it to be true. Not for me. I tried that for almost a decade, and it did not work. I’m learning that when the past includes trauma, that trauma will keep showing up in the present and keep us from being ready to entertain hope for the future. Trauma memories and their effects may be about the past, but they only reside in the present – within us.

There is a path to the future. It includes working through the stuff of the past, not just running from it. And…working through my stuff means relying on the help of others. Talking about the worst parts, the shameful things, with others. And then, when I’m expecting disgust, receiving the beautiful surprise of grace. Or when I’m not able to feel my own pain, seeing it in the tears of the person listening to me. This is therapeutic work, but isn’t exclusively done in therapy. I’m grateful to have the blessing of a therapist, but also some other “normal screwups” like me with whom I can share my stuff.

Keeping the running theme here, there’s an inescapable truth about recovery. To borrow what I, as someone who has run some marathons is all-too cliche, recovery really is the marathon and not the sprint. It’s also the run/walk/jog/crawl, not the bike ride. In cycling, sooner or later you get the chance to just coast. In running, coasting is just stopping. And stopping is not an option in recovery. Maybe people who don’t struggle with addiction can coast. But those in recovery cannot.

It made me sad when Forrest stopped running. This was years before I surrendered to being an addict. But even then, I had this sense that stopping was the wrong thing to do. Of course, the movie was not at all based in reality. So, what else would I expect?

There’s a song I’ve come to love, by Jess Ray. She was my #1 artist on Spotify last year. Jess has phenomenal talent and writes poingnant lyrics! The song is called Too Good. I think the song fits well with this post, though it has nothing to do with running. I hope you take a few minutes to listen and consider the message.

How about you? Are you a Forrest Gump fan? What are you running from? Or toward? Do you find there’s room in your life to just “coast”?

Oh, and if you’re looking for me, I’ll be out on a run…

10 thoughts on “i just kept on running…

  1. ✿ Lovely Panda Mom ✿

    Yeah, the past is hard to run from, since it has a way of chasing you. And I’m no longer running from my addiction (the way I used to), so that part of my life is nice and at peace. But I now keep catastrophizing (because of the past) and I find it hard to even leave the house on some days. I’m not even worried about myself, but about my family, which in a lot of ways is worse on me. But, I’m sure I’ll figure it out somehow 😊 Enjoy your run! I LOVE Forrest Gump, wish I had time to watch it again!

    Liked by 1 person

      1. ✿ Lovely Panda Mom ✿

        I’ve spoken to my husband about it. He knows how I am, after ten years and also after me always telling him to lock the doors, drive safe, be aware of the surroundings, how to get the baby out of the carseat fast in case of a carjacking (that one has been happening a lot here in Colorado…), etc. So, he knows. But I haven’t talked to a professional about it or anything.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Emily Yvonne

    Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.
    Matthew 11:28-30

    I run toward Christ. And He gives me rest. No more running. Only intentional walking. Hand in hand with my Savior. One step at a time.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. David Post author

      Sounds like this was written by someone who doesn’t like running. And I know… not everyone does. But no more running? That sounds dreadful to this guy.

      I do like that passage about His yoke being easy, and that He gives rest. We all need rest. I also think the scripture passages that seem to encourage running (even as something to be enjoyed) and describe life as a race are pretty instructive.

      Isaiah 40:31 is maybe my favorite.


      1. Emily Yvonne

        Yup. Still working on my perception of these things. To me, run = fear and race = comparison. Two things I try to distance myself from. So…”life” being encapsulated in those two words invokes anxiety instead of freedom. I admire your ability and enjoyment of running.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Emily Yvonne

        Alright, I confess, I think maybe I’ve been running from the term “running”. It’s not so scary. Maybe it’s my aversion to exercise that keeps me from wanting life to be always in motion like a race.

        I’ve had this album on repeat since it was released a week ago. Thought you’d definitely enjoy this first track.


  3. Ellie Thompson

    I really liked this post, and I just loved Forrest Gump, too, David. It touched my heart in so many ways. I watched him, in awe, running and running – something I’ve always longed to do but can’t as I’m a wheelchair user. I would love to feel the wind in my hair and my feet pounding the ground and to get that feeling of the freedom of running away from my problems and bad memories. It must offer a great sense of satisfaction and release. I’m so glad you can run, and that helps you. As you say, we need an outsider’s help as well. I used to be an addict (alcohol and drugs, although I’m now ten years clean and sober). I’ve written about this somewhere on my blog, but that was before I found your blog. I had a wonderful therapist up until the 4th of January this year, but my funding ran out, and we had to end, which I didn’t cope with very well. However, I’m on a [long] waiting list to see someone else now. Unfortunately, the wait is going to be months rather than weeks. I do have some good friends, too, and am very grateful to them for being there for me when I’m struggling. I agree with you about recovery being like running and not stopping or coasting. I get that, and although I can’t run, I can still do so in a metaphorical way. I listened to the Jess Ray song and thought it was beautiful. I can see why you like it so much. Sorry I seem to have written an essay rather than a comment 😬.

    Take good care of yourself, my friend.


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