Horse logic is basically this: a bird in the hand is worth 2 in the bush. On the level of the 3-D, at first glance, this seems reasonable. But yesterday, I had several pieces of juicy apple in my hand that I wanted to give to Miss T. She was still engaged in vacuuming up the last crumbs of her feed. Miss T. is elderly, 26 years old, and she is missing some teeth. Her feed is a “senior pelleted” feed to which you add water to make it manageable for older horses, many of whom, like Miss T, have pretty much out-lived their teeth. For these guys, the golden days of eating crunchy, delicious grain laced with molasses are over. Because of the gaps in her teeth, when she raises her head from her big black rubber bowl to chew (or to do her version of chewing) feed is flung far and wide. As soon as she plows through the feed in her bowl, thrifty soul that she is, she scours the surrounding grass for these runaway morsels. That is what she was still doing when I approached with those nice apple chunks.
She was having none of that; her attention was fully on the minuscule bites of feed lurking in the short, brown winter grass. She absolutely would not raise her head from her determined, snuffling search. I showed it to her. I waved it under her nose so she could smell it. Nope. She could not be dissuaded from her pursuit of those run-away morsels. I might as well have had nothing in my hands to offer her. I smiled at her silly mission to get the last of her breakfast while ignoring bona fide goodies, horse candy! But as I walked away, apple in hand, I started thinking about how she is not that different from me.
How many jobs have I stayed at way too long because at least I knew exactly what kind of misery that job provided, figuring that a new job would have it’s unpleasant features too. I just wouldn’t find out about them for a while, and they might be even worse than what I was already dealing with. How many hopeless relationships have I stubbornly clung to because of the same “reasoning”. This is the reasoning of the material world, and apparently quite similar to the reasoning of my horse. She might have been thinking “Well, if I take that apple from mom, that would mean I would have to leave all this feed on the ground. Then my sister Lois would get it. Sure, it’s covered with dirt and scattered all about. Sure, mom has apple, I can smell it. But I need to remain true to my time-honored routine and clean my plate.” Yes, of course, this is a stretch to think she is processing all of this in a brain the size of a walnut. More likely, she was thinking, “Mmmmmm…..Mmmmmmm….good!”I thought about this as I drove away from the barn. I had something else on my mind that quickly replaced my horse musings as the day wore on and I got ready for the dreaded dentist appointment that loomed large before me.
You see, partials don’t last forever. That is what I recently found out when I lost one of my big, fat back teeth. The partial still worked…kind of. But it tended to hop around when I chewed, and kept giving me sores on my gums. That’s not all. About 3 months ago I lost a cap that had replaced my left eye tooth. It just came right out with very little provocation soon after I noticed it was loose. Oh my. I was relieved when my dentist was able to glue the little kernel back in…twice. Since I was spending $165.00 a throw to have my cap glued back in, I realized that soon I would have wasted enough money to finance a new partial (almost!). What a waste, right?
So I got real brave, or as brave as I get when it comes to dental work. I decided to just go ahead, bite the bullet, (yes…a pun) and have that cap taken out in preparation for a new partial, complete with a pristine plastic eye tooth. I was certain that the wayward cap would have to be pulled so that the impression could be made in preparation for the new partial. Now, even though I knew perfectly well that I had already had a root canal on it and so there was no real attachment of that cap to my mouth except for some Gorilla Glue (or whatever they use), and so it was unlikely that there would be the pain potential associated with pulling a real tooth, still I worried. And worried. Not only was I not eager to go around without it for 2 weeks while the partial was being made, I was absolutely sure my old partial would never stay put without that eye tooth to which it was anchored! How would I chew? Anyone who knows me knows how dearly I love to eat, and I eat a pretty healthy diet that includes a whole lot of food that has to be well chewed. By the time I got to the dentist’s office I had worked myself up into a swivet.
However, the dentist was able to take the impressions with that cap still hanging in there. I was informed, much to my relief ( I was actually giddy with the information), the cap would be pulled the same day my new partial came in. No worries about chewing. No holes in my grill. I was in there like swimwear. What does this have to do with Miss T. and her refusal of the apple in order to clean up her dirt-covered crumbs?
Miss T’s logic had been a lot like mine…flawed. She missed out on a sweet treat she loves in order to doggedly (horse-edly?) stick with a sure thing, that spilled feed. She wanted to make sure she got it all up before her sister could. In so doing, she missed out on the sweetness of the fresh apple. I turned down the peace of mind I could have had if I had just trusted God like I tell everybody else to do! I had even prayed “Please God, don’t let me have to have that cap pulled!” but apparently had no faith that this could happen. Oh, no, I had to worry and fret and try hard to figure out how in the world I would get through that 2 weeks without chewing. I treated myself to some heaping helpings of anxiety over how to seem uncaring and blithe, and what jokes I could make about the sudden appearance of big gaps in my smile, how I could play it off as if I didn’t care one bit as I faced my congregation from the pulpit sans partial. God had me covered. God had my apple chunks while I snuffled for my feed in the dirt! I have to laugh at myself, it’s all so ludicrous. So often the details have already been worked out by Spirit even while we are still figuring out how to do damage control. But there is more…
It wasn’t that long ago that I could not have afforded myself the comfort and security of having expensive dental work like crowns and caps and partials. Through no fault of my own, until the last few years of a working life which began at age 12, I was one of the working poor, that tragic expression that should be an oxymoron; no savings, no emergency credit card, no money left over for anything. Where had my gratitude gone? And what of my friend who died in his 50’s from cardiac complications of tooth decay, an entire mouth festering with infected teeth that finally stopped the beating of his kind and hard-working heart? I doubt he would have minded too much having them all pulled out in order to rid himself of the pain, the stench of his rotting teeth, and ultimately, the loss of his very life. It is hard not to have some form of survivor’s guilt, having risen up from the ranks of the working poor to where I am today, finally in a position to have the things that make life easier. Had I temporarily forgotten where I came from? At the very least, I had forgotten that my Source could and would take care of me, something I have seen happen in my own life over and over again.
Is there something that you are clinging to today? Are you hanging onto your fears as though they were a life raft? They are not. It is our fear that keeps us from our joy, our peace our security. It is our fear that keeps us who pray praying like I did and then turning away empty-handed because we could not trust, so we left before the miracle. I challenge you, and I challenge me….be bold. Be brave. Trust. Abandon that illusion of a life-raft and dive into the great ocean. God is there in a Zodiac, waiting to pull you in and take you safely to shore.
….your father knows what you need before you ask him.