Friday, September 28, 2012

The Horse that said 'No'

One of the rare treats of living in Wellington is the weekly winter horse shows. The producers of the evening have made it surprisingly user-friendly by including an M.C. that warms up the crowd from the center of the arena, fire jugglers performing along the stands, and a live band that plays classic rock, just in case you're not that into the world of equus callubi.

We make a point of attending at least one equestrian event a year whether it be polo, jumping or dressage.  So, there in February before the West Palm Beach heat returned, we ventured to the Saturday night jumping competitions.

Usually there is a track of jumps, moats and rails that challenges each contender to be the fastest and knock down the fewest bars.

This time there were only 4 jumps. One was a wall that they heightened with each round. After two tries if the wall isn't cleared, horse and rider are out of the running.

One by one, eliminations occurred, the duos left the arena as the wall grew higher and higher. (It was made of Styrofoam blocks to resemble bricks).

At 6'4" the jump seemed impossible. But still 2 contestants were left in the competition.

Mid-air, then cleared it.

 The height of wall reached  7'2".

There went the horse. His rider urged him to the wall and the horse slammed his front legs ahead of him to a dead stop in front of the wall. His master visibly displeased, swung the animal around to make a second attempt.

Galloping fiercely toward the wall, the horse again dug his hoof heels firmly into the turf and to the crowd's great astonishment
from side-to-side as if to say



The horse then veered sharply to the right avoiding the 'brick' barricade, flinging the horseman off the saddle. As the rider dangled on the side of his mount, audible gasps from the stands expressed fright that he might lose grip, fall and be trampled. 

To our great relief (no doubt to his, too) the horseman recovered with no injury to his body. I can't say the same for his psyche from the dramatic and disappointing defeat. But, hey, he came in second,  and lived to tell it.

Nothing coming over the wall

 It was the most audacious thing I'd ever seen a thoroughbred do. This creature broke all the stereotypes that purport that horses have a small brain!

What a night at the Equestrian arena! We're definitely going next year!

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Incredible Shrinking Me

"Narrow is the mansion of my heart."

So said St. Augustine.

"Enlarge Thou it..."

I read on in his surprisingly relevant, though ancient autobiography, The Confessions of Saint Augustine.

If this house of my heart were any smaller, it would hold no air to sustain me. Suffocating, I grasp and clutch and crave things, beauty, possessions, that make it a cluttered, selfish, little hovel.

This small space.

"Enlarge Thou it, that Thou mayest enter in," he writes on.

My own stunted heart teeters on arrest when the notion of generosity comes knocking. This strange guest at my door, uninvited.


Do I let this newcomer in? Do I allow altruism in to remove the piles of hoarded trash that make it hard to move around, to live, let alone give as I was intended to give?

Sweaty palms unlatch the lock and slowly let the breeze of benevolence move the stale air of a closed, windows-shut-tight, curtains drawn, dark abode.

Then something unusual happens. The pent up air stirs, flows, then escapes as if from a vacuum-packed can, this windowless solitary confinement prison cell.

 My arteries, clogged with discontent and greed, on the brink of failure, plagued with chronic arrythmia, might benefit from the defibrillation of giving.

Blinding light accompanies this uncommon guest. I rush to clean the newly revealed dust and move the messes into already bursting closets, no where to hide it all. Exposed. Ashamed. I shrink to the size of my surroundings until I am spent, small, and overcome by the utter despair of stuff.

The saving of my self-centered, withered soul is to give. Open handed, what I have, little as it may be. Not just tangible gifts, like change to the beggar or coffee to a friend. But forgiveness to a relative, and mercy to my teenager, the benefit of a doubt to my husband.

So renovate this dwelling place of my life-source. Add a room or two. Not to fill with more purses or sets of dishes,

But. To. Fill. With. You.    Great, Generous God.

And dazzle me with the heart-flipping joy that comes with seeing the smile of a homeless person. Let me sense the long overdue relief of a friendship restored.

Enlarge my heart, to make room for all You are and want to be in me.

And maybe someday my cardboard shack-of-a-heart might make it into an issue of heaven's House Beautiful magazine...

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