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The Runaway Train

A short reflection this week.

I was in a pub on Saturday afternoon celebrating our team’s Grand Final win.

A mate and I were chatting about being a parent. Except this mate has a fluffy baby.

A dog.

We joke regularly that it is pretty much the same thing with the same tasks and stresses that come with it. Although truthfully, I am certain caring for a baby is at least 50 times harder.

But the real point of this story was the “Runaway Train”. That feeling I have had consistently since I was a child. Sometimes monthly. Sometimes daily. The literal “train” of thought that can escalate to a chaotic point internally in the blink of an eye that is leading towards a catastrophic crash.





I have given the example to my Doctors before of how a simple disagreement with my wife can trigger the train to take off. Before I know it, I have paced (without realising) up and down our lounge clinging on for the ride.

Firstly, this argument means we are not going to want to be around each other.

And that will lead to a bigger tension.

And then that will lead to separation.

And separation means divorce.

And that means starting all over again. 

And then I will not get to see my son daily, feed him when he wakes, play, come home and bath him and put him to bed. 

And then I will need to find somewhere to live.

And how am I going to afford it?

And then it will affect my day job and I will lose that.

And then I will be lonely.

And then…

It’s over in 20 minutes. It's an uncomfortable experience. But my wife comes in, kisses me on the head, we hug, apologise and within 10 minutes laughter fills the room.

The same thing happened to my mate and despite the distress it causes, the feeling that I was not the only one strangely filled me with hope.

He mentioned how his dog had uncharacteristically run away from him at the park. Before he knew it the dog was running across a busy road and he was throwing himself in front of busy traffic to get to the dog and starring down a screeching 4x4.

Thankfully no-one was harmed. But the frantic tornado of chaos this caused internally, from just a moment before when he was relaxing in the park, was frightening.

He talked of his train taking off.

If the dog had been hit, it would have passed away.

And then he would have to explain to his partner.

And then she would divorce him.

And that would mean he would have to move out.

And then he would almost certainly go back to his homeland. 

And then that would mean…

You get the idea.

Over a beer we laughed, strangely united in that moment, that we both got off the train unharmed.

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