Life is full of expectations. Ever considered how much we operate on what is expected? For instance, I expect to wake up in the morning (always good), be greeted by a husband that still loves me, visit healthy (!) horses awaiting breakfast, ride afore mentioned horses with the expectation they will respond to the training I have invested in them (I’m learning to let this one slide), etc. etc. I race through my small space in life pregnant with expectations; happily, and often ignorantly, placing them on those around me with whom I share relationships. There are expectations on my friends, my children, my pastor. I even have expectations on those I do not know such as fellow Costco shoppers (namely that they will politely allow me to park, not run me over, or flip me the finger…yes, I’ve realized the folly in this particular expectation and have let it go). Expectations frequently slap me upside the head, frustrate me, and poison my relationships with the humans and horses that share my life.
I had low to no expectations of Chance when I got on him recently for the first time in over six months. I hoped he wouldn’t fall on me or do anything weird or foolish, but this horse is straight out of the film 50 First Dates so one can never be sure. What I had done to prepare was lunge him for a month or so to get him back into shape. He was holding his lope pretty well and seemed happy, in his horsy way, to be worked with again.
Lately I’ve realized that year by year I know less and less. Soon I may forget my own name. A life with God and horses is full of mysteries I cannot explain. Last fall I put Chance away convinced, after his fall, that he was damaged permanently in some unknown way—physically, mentally or, most likely, a combination of the two. His Cerebellar Atrophy blood test came back negative, he did not die from EPM or convulse in to seizures. He continues to greet me each morning with a husky nicker. After praying over him in November with my daughter, the only change worth noting were heels that sprouted like seeds from the bottoms of his feet (Uh, Lord, I said healed, not heels). Oh well. God sometimes gives me things I don’t think I need but later discover are vitally important. Though still klutzy, Chance has beautiful feet now. Feet made for walking, says I. And so I jumped on bareback one day, no bridle, and moved him around. He seemed okay, outside of obsessively grinding his teeth in what hints at discomfort. On subsequent rides he vacillated between trying very hard (he has a lovely lope departure and the best stop of our three boys) and emotional outbursts for apparently no reason. Still, I enjoyed myself. I realized later that one reason I could enjoy a klutzy, funky little pinto so much was because I had no expectations of him. He didn’t need to please me or fulfill grand horsemanship goals. I was just along for the ride.
Last month, as my few faithful readers may have noted, blog posting was pathetic. This is in part because I published my first work of fiction, Rodeo Dreams, and was tied up in the excitement of that. Talk about the potential for expectations! Does it suck? Will it hit the NY Times Bestseller list (Okay, I did mention that to God…if He feels so inclined)? Should I sell my soul to promote the thing? After getting jumped up on expectations I was thankfully able to relax again into an attitude of being along for the ride. Why? My expectations rest in God and He’s pointed out specifically what I can expect: He will never leave me or forsake me—He is with me to the end of the age; His care is such that He numbers the hairs on my head and has thoughts for me as the sand of the sea (wow); His gifts are perfect; He takes great delight in me; He directs my steps; He plans to prosper me…it goes on and on. I don’t need to lean on my expectations in this life--or burden everyone else with them-- when I can trust in God’s promises. I can simply enjoy the ride—whether it’s on a funky pinto or the “ride” of publishing for the first time. Good things are in store, that’s all I know for sure (except in the Costco parking lot—oy!)
PS. Check out Jess Simmons, an artist you can expect will produce beautiful portraits of your pets, including the one posted today of Eli and Cowboy. It is called, “Friends,” and makes me happy every time I look at it. Thanks Jess!