Welcome, Charise! I’m so glad to share this post – because I can so relate to it. I heard the same things. And I feel the same way still. Share in the comments if you agree. – Nicole
I love horses. Or think I do. Thought I did. But others always told me it was a phase. “All girls love horses.” And even more others said, “You only like to ride. If you had to take care of a horse, you wouldn’t like them so much.”
I can remember being three and my Great Grandparents were living in a cabin while their house was being built. There was a black pony in the yard and I was desperate to ride it.
I can remember being seven and borrowing some rope from my other Grandparents’ garage. I rode my bike to a field where a few horses grazed with no owner in sight. If I could just slip that rope around their neck, I’d hoist myself up. I never made it, but I came home with my rope and smelling like horse.
I can remember being ten. We’d moved to suburban LA, not a horse in sight. I’d check out every book the library had on horses: history of the horse, horsemanship, horse novels, how to draw horses… Well, you get the idea.
When I came to visit extended family, I would be offered my choice of activity. I always picked horseback-riding and the longer we could stay at the stable the better.
At 13, when I got a horse. I found out that I loved it all. The grooming. The feeding. The shoveling. And yes, the riding. But also, the communing. Burying my face in her mane. Feeling her muzzle at my pocket for the carrots I tucked there. My life was at the barn.
Everything else was just killing time.
At 16, I wanted a horse more than I wanted my driver’s license.
I don’t think it was a phase. Even today, I am angling to get a horse.
And I think about how I knew I loved horses at three years old. How I love that picture of me atop the black pony with my white patent leather knee-high boots and corduroy jumper (it was the sixties) and a burlap sack for a saddle.
How horses still stir my soul. It’s not a phase. And I love it all.
I think how so often we know inside ourselves what is true. What is absolutely right. We know what we know.
And yet, others tell us it is a phase. It is silliness. It is something other than what we believe it to be. It can happen with horses.
And it can happen with knowing God’s own truth for our lives. How many other times I have listened to the others, instead of myself? Instead of God.
There can be those others who tell us we’re silly. Or we’re going through a phase. But like that black pony I had to ride at three and like the empty pasture I see out my window today that I know will have a horse in it soon, I have to know the truth for myself inside myself.
Charise Olson writes California Fiction. It’s just like Southern Fiction, but without all that humidity. Her blog is Prayers and Cocktails at chariseolson.com where she writes about the chaos of life and the calm of God. She is represented by Rachelle Gardner with Books and Such Literary.