January 29, 2014

Whispers on Horseback

    My body stiffened, jaw tightening. A brown head flashed up then down in front of me. Just hold still, will you? My mind screamed, and my hands urged the same through the taught leather reins. Tenebrae's mane flashed again, and she vigorously chomped her bit and pranced sideways. I pressed my leg and heel into her side and hauled back on the reins. My efforts solicited a few stilted steps in the general backwards direction I desired, but as soon as I released the pressure from my hands, Tenebrae shifted her weight forward again. I tugged on the reins, and she pranced in place. Don't you see? It's for your own good if you stand still... just chill for a second, and you'll be better off when it's your turn! I watched the rider before me sail over a jump, then returned my attentions to Little Miss Impatient. Through my seat, hands, and legs, I could feel Tenebrae working herself into a frenzy as she fought my command to be still. It was a simple thing, to be still. And for her own good, besides. But still she fought her rider. Her master. 
    There, in the hazy arena, on the back of a thousand pound bay beauty, I understood. Myself. In an instant, thoughts and prayers from the weeks before flickered before my eyes, a mirror image of the horseflesh struggle beneath me. 
Tenebrae - I think she's sneezing in this picture :P
    Be still. Know my presence and let that be enough. My master had whispered through my devotions, day after day. In return I fought, tossing my head and craning my neck, searching for something to do, something to be. 
    Be faithful in the small things I am asking of you now. Obey me in the moment, God whispered. I was prancing in place and tugging at God's gentle guiding reins. I want to do something big! My mind screamed. I want to take off on a wild adventure with you, God. Why are you holding me in place? I was chomping at the bit, sidestepping God's guidance, and working myself into a frenzy trying to go somewhere my master did not want me to go. For the moment, that is.
    Tenebrae and I did go over the jumps. I did eventually ask her to move forward, to canter, to fly. But before that, I asked her to be still. Because if she had trotted full steam ahead with no restraint from her master, she would have messed up someone else's timing or run into another horse. There was a reason - multiple reasons - I asked her to be still. She just didn't - couldn't - understand. But because I loved her, because I wanted the best for her and everyone else, I persisted; tugging, nudging, pressing, restraining. And still she fought. 
    And still you fight, God whispered. Rest, He urged. I felt the reins tighten in my mouth. Be still, and He guided me with strong nudges of His leg. Do what I have asked of you, the little things, and wait for me to release you for the mountain ahead. Scrabbling at it's base, stretching and clawing at handholds will only tire you before I ask you to climb. Just... be still. 


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