When a foal is born, there is much excitement. The mother cares for it, and if there are humans in its life, then they too will help care for it. They will raise the foal into a beautiful young horse. The horse will learn new things about life. Things that are terrifying at first but once that fear is overcome, the horse learns about freedom and confidence. Imagine the very first time the horse has a feed sack put on its back. Now imagine the first time there is a saddle on it. This sounds as though it would be terrifying, no?
When the young horse first has a human climb into the saddle one could imagine the animal is terrified. The strange weight. The person they trusted now disappeared and is climbing up and weighing them down. Once the horse relaxes and sees that their confidence was put on the right person, it can relax. The animal is rewarded with a trip outside of their home and eventually, the trips are longer and farther. The horse sees beautiful things with this human on its back. The horse is trusting in this person that they will not lead them astray or hurt them. Sometimes the horse trips and falls, but their person is always there to help them through it. The horse had imagined it would be this way for a very long time. The horse had seen many much older horses doing all the same things without issue. The horse was excited.
Before the horse realized what had happened, it was put into a pasture. It no longer had a purpose. No job. No human it could trust or count on. It sat in the pasture. It watched as all the others went out into the world and did what they were supposed to do, be a horse, working pulling logs, letting children ride on them as they lazily clopped their feet around some barrels, or simply were a companion to a family. But this horse no longer had a job. It was incapable of anything. Through frustration and pain, it desperately tried everything it could to show the world what a beautiful beast it still was, even if damaged and scared.
Of course, I was not born a foal to a horse. The message is the same. There are so many of us who dare to dream, to search out a passion in life only to get left behind by our world. The circumstances may be different. Perhaps your family situation changed and you are no longer able to pursue what you were gaining joy from. Or, perhaps you are like the horse above; damaged on the inside to the point where you could no longer do what you were doing before. It isn’t uncommon for horses to die not long after they are put to pasture. When I drove carriages in Memphis we used horses that were bought from logging companies. Pulling a carriage with some people in it at night was a much better job for them than pulling logs all day. Had we not bought them they too would have been put to pasture and with no purpose, they don’t tend to live more than a year or two.
Though the purpose I thought I had in life is no longer there I know that there is still more out there for me. There is no doubt I struggle. If I seem like I have it together I don’t. My internal dialog is terrifying but I have practiced what Pink said in her song “Perfect”-
One of the tattoos I have has a line from a Longfellow poem. The line is, “For the soul is dead that slumbers.” I remind myself that as long as I keep looking for something to be passionate about then I am alive.
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