"This is the greatest journey
that the human heart will ever see
The love of God will take us
far beyond our wildest dreams...
Saddle up your horses
we've got a trail to blaze
Through the wild blue yonder
of God's amazing grace
Let's follow our leader
into the glorious unknown
This is a life like no other
this is The Great Adventure
Saddle up your horses,
come on get ready to ride..."
- Steven Curtis Chapman
& Geoff Moore
Horses and camp..they go together like bread and butter, blueberries and pancakes, Emma and Clara. Dapples and paints, bays and bucksins...I love them all. As a girl I loved to read about horses, draw them, paint them, brush, curry, feed, and ride them. I was horse obsessed. Driving up the camp road and seeing our herd in the pasture takes my breath away. Being able to pick out Riata, Dusk, Sugar (Lach's and Linda's), Ayla, Remington, and the rest...is like walking into a family reunion in full swing.
This morning, I was listening to Chapman and Moore's "The Great Adventure," just as a patrol of campers and their horses came up the hill during a trail ride. I couldn't help but notice the trust these tiny riders (and the parents who'd sent them to camp knowing that they'd be participating in the Buckaroos program) had in their four-legged partners. It is a well-placed trust, and it is soundly grounded in the spiritual fact that, as Mary Baker Eddy says in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures:
"All is under the control of the one Mind, even God."
These riders and their horses all have the same God, the same Mind, governing their every movement with divinely choreographed spiritual certainty. It is a sacred dance...one that thrives on both "lightness of touch," and a firm hand. And as much as I thrill at the sight of young riders excelling at barrels, poles, and the keyhole in the end-of-session rodeo, this dance of horse and rider is never more beautiful to me than in these first few days of camp.
I love wandering down to the corral, and watching a line of grade-school age children mounted high atop their horses, soft hands lightly cradling (or tightly clutching) leather reins, feet barely reaching stirrups, and smiles as wide as a quarter moon lighting up their faces as they move slowly along the dusty road towards the arena. You cannot watch an eight year old, astride a 800-pound buckskin, and not be in awe of the remarkable trust on the part of both the rider who is sitting brave and tall, and the horse whose mouth holds a metal bit under the control of a youngster.
Our daughters have been riding since they were preschoolers, and watching them tear into the rodeo arena, pass through the electronic eye of the timer, round the barrels, and race back through the gate, is like watching a pod of dolphins cutting through the sea, leaves turning towards the sunlight, or a hummingbird hovering in midair above the long-throated chalice of a trumpet flower. It is as natural, beautiful, and breath-taking as an Arkansas Valley sunset after a storm.
Tonight, as I pondered the spiritual message in Chapman's "The Great Adventure," I've been thinking about my own eager readiness to ride into the "glorious unknown" of spiritual trust. I have been assessing my own willingness to enter the arena of healing and salvation with a childlike trust that anticipates only the promised joy. I have been imagining myself bouncing high astride my great desire to greet each request for treatment, each appointment, each visit to my office, each moment's call to be present in my life...with grace. I long to be able to put self aside...and live in service to God...with a smile as big as a quarter moon, a heart that is chomping at the bit, and a willingness to trust Him -- a Love that is so much bigger than I am -- with all that I am or ever will be -- with my life, my hopes, my dreams, my desires, and my children.
I'm saddled up and ready for the ride of my life...
Loving camp!! More soon...from the porch of Crowsnest,
Kate Robertson, CS
[photo credits: Ashley Bay 2009]