Saturday, April 21, 2012

The Real Deal

--
His weathered and rugged face was hard to read. His blue eyes were clear and calm below his hat, but they gave nothing away. He was a cowboy. He was the real deal.


"Have you ridden before?" he asked as he looked down the line of saddled stable horses wearily waiting to begin the next trail ride, most of them with heads low, looking bored and listless. They had the dull, sorrowful look horses get when they've been ridden too much by people who don't know what they're doing.

"Yes," I said, "I grew up on horses."

"Have you ever fallen off?"

I laughed out loud and said without excuse or explanation, "More times than I can count!"

Everything that had shielded his thoughts before fell instantly away and his smile went all the way to the sun-browned crinkles at the corners of his eyes, and he went inside the barn and led out a horse with a lively step, bright eyes and eager ears pricked toward me.

I had passed the test.

In my mind's eye I could imagine how many times the cowboy must have asked some first time wannabe that same question only to get the telltale, "Never!" I could just see the city slicker standing there in his too new cowboy hat, too splashy, too clean, un-scuffed boots, the smug tilt of the head and the too cool expression, thinking the cowboy would be impressed and think him a real expert if he had never fallen off a horse before. Instead, the real cowboy would know immediately that this was no expert--anyone who's never fallen off hasn't ridden very much.

So often we are like that new-boot-wearing city slicker, putting on fancy costumes, wearing plastic expressions, not wanting our weakness to show, not wanting to show who we really are because we think we'll look weak if people see that we fall sometimes. The truth is, there is no shame in inexperience, no shame in honest weakness, no shame in not having arrived yet, and certainly no shame in needing help to get back in the saddle. In fact, having fallen off more times than we can count and having the courage to say so, we may just stand a little taller and be a little more trustworthy in the eyes of others who know about the tumbles of life. Maybe being honest about the falls we've taken and giving God the credit for all the ways He helps us get back on the horse will let people know that they can trust us when we tell them that God is the original Real Deal!

“'My grace is enough for you: for where there is weakness, my power is shown the more completely.' Therefore, I have cheerfully made up my mind to be proud of my weaknesses, because they mean a deeper experience of the power of Christ . . . For my very weakness makes me strong in him.” 2 Corinthians 12:9-10 (PHILLIPS)

Me on my horse, Miss Velvet Storm (the show name I gave her), in 1973, one of our first horse shows.

1976, Velvet and me, fast friends forever! I miss you, girl!

There are two things worse than falling off--
never getting on in the first place, 
and not getting back in the saddle after a fall.
You were not made to stay on the ground!

How do you overcome the urge to hide behind a mask?
How do you respond when others show you who they really are?
Have you ever fallen off? 
________________________________

Joining Ann Voskamp in counting His graces for her Multitudes on Monday
I hope you'll join in if you haven't already!
In the counting of the endless gifts I say with C. S. Lewis,
"This also is Thou!"
Counting my next 1000 Gifts, joining Ann in The Joy Dare--like a scavenger hunt for graces, gifts and glory!! Wanna come along?  I dare ya!!

The continuing JOY DARE: 
#1317-1337 (April 15th through April 21st)

15. A gift in a bag, in a box, in a book
The birthday gifts I can't wait to give She So Sweet!!
The envelopes Drummer Boy bought me because he knew I was out of them
Scardagger & Slashreap--devilish characters in a new book I'll be reviewing soon (watch for the giveaway!)
16. 3 hard eucharisteos
Monday morning after Spring Break
"The hurrier I go the behinder I get." Lewis Carroll
The chaos that perpetually encroaches on cosmos, and the fact that it requires me to beat it back into some semblance of order.
17. 3 gifts woven together
A jumble of numbers, in the hands of our capable accountant, woven together into a coherent and accurate tax return (another hard eucharisteo)
Minutes and hours and days and weeks woven together into this crazy wonderful life we share
Thoughts, things learned, things taught, and things understood that are woven together into knowledge and wisdom
18. 3 gifts inherited
An Irish heart full of whimsy, good humor, and delight in my Creator in His creation
A German mind that is precise and organized
The battle between the Irish and German that I share with my mommy--a bit of a blessing AND a bit of a curse--hard to tell which sometimes
19. 3 gifts square
A rainbow of sticky notes!
A tax hiccup squared away properly by our expert accountant--thank you Paulette!
Old LP record covers that hold great music and so many memories
20. A gift stacked, stashed, stilled
The pages of my school e-textbooks, printed for free, 100 pages at a time
Odds and ends, bits and pieces of life tucked here and there in my desk that so needs to be cleaned
My angst about getting a school question answered--finally!
21. 3 gifts found in Christ
Peace that passes understanding
The only Name by which anyone can be saved
Extravagant, unfathomable love

   Beauty in His Grip ButtonOn In Around button
A heartfelt thank you to these generous bloggers
who make these communities available!

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