Kurt Bell

A life of courage, joy and independence.

Three days: Escape – Return to the USA – LylesBrother

Flickr image used with permission by woodlywonderworks

Flickr image used with permission by woodlywonderworks

Have you ever tried to escape yourself? Though it sounds ridiculous I think many of us attempt a personal prison break during the course of life, or at least entertain the fantasy of fleeing from current circumstance towards another place and time where nobody knows our name, our past sins may be forgotten and we’ve a chance to try again, perhaps better than before. As my family and I dream of transitioning our lives from Japan to the USA, I sometimes wonder how much of our desire is fueled by mature planning and consideration and how much might instead stem from a more secret wish to wash our hands of one life in favor of a second chance.

Our family in 2003, departing for a new life in Japan.

Our family in 2003, departing for a new life in Japan.

Movement is usually motivated by either necessity or the pursuit of opportunity, though sometimes our sane outward reasoning conceals a more secret desire to escape the person we perceive ourselves to be. Flying to better climes can indeed provide relief to those who are wearied of long, cold winters. Relocating to start a new job may further our career and enhance our professional standing and opportunity. And departing the backward provinces to start anew in a cosmopolitan metropolis can lift the blinds of ignorance and open doors of understanding. These motivations to movement and change are practical, admirable and honorable; worthwhile in their own right as wholesome constituents of a life experienced across a broad canvas of living.

Our character returns

Our character returns

My concern then is more for the changes I desire to secretly carry out by way of moving somewhere else. The qualities of personal character I’m ashamed of and wish to seal in a bag to discard by the side of the road in the land I’m leaving behind, abandoned and hopefully forgotten, perhaps to become the problem of some meddling stranger who opens the bag to look inside. But such qualities seldom remain stray for long. Being our truest possessions they always find their way back to us. Do they love us so much? Or is it perhaps that their most nourishing sustenance is at the teat of our own despair and self loathing? For whatever reason, like a wayward dog separated from it’s master by misadventure, our true character and the challenges it demands, always comes back across the miles, limping perhaps yet determined, to appear at our door at dawn one unsuspecting day, usually just as we were becoming used to the apparent peace of absence.


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