Sunday, December 18, 2011

Kindred Spirits

     On Saturdays when we aren't deluged with to-do lists, I drop Asherel at the barn she rides at- His Barn. For several hours, she and a handful of other teens volunteer. They do so because they want to be near horses, and also because Miss Jill, the single owner of this remarkable riding program, needs their help and they love Jill. Asherel has ridden here for years, with a brief foray into English riding.Jill's philosophy is one that I can fully embrace. Horses are one of God's creation, and riding/horse care can be done in such a way that His glory and creation is honored and He is magnified.
     Jill has to train the crew of teens and sometimes must wonder if the effort exceeds the results. Yet, she understands that in our urban,materialistic, computer based society, few kids understand the connection with nature. The Industrial revolution brought many wonderful things, but many wonderful things were lost.
     I always find it a little mystifying that the girl who loves to lie on the couch playing computer games, and moans when I order her outside to walk the dogs, or do chores...will gleefully get up early on Saturday (for her) and eagerly wave goodbye as the barn world envelops her. The work is hard, and she is usually exhausted when I pick her up several hours later, but the first thing she says when she sees me is,"Do I have to go?"
     "Can't I stay a little longer? We are letting the horses out soon," she asked as I found her with the group resting in the barn office. All of their pants were soaked from the knees down, doubtless from cleaning the troughs, which I had heard was on the agenda.
     "Sure," I answered, and went to sit in the van to wait, since it was a little cold outside. As I sat there, I watched Asherel take the horses out for a drink, and then run over to the bleachers along the riding ring. She climbed up on one where a fat cat was sunning itself. She gathered the cat in her arms. She was backlit by the sun and her hair streamed in the wind like a golden halo. She looked happy.
     I flashed back 45 years to when I was a young girl, working on a farm down the street from us. I used to race home every day after school, put on my old smelly barn clothes, and vanish to be with the horses, the goats, cows, cats, and dogs til dinner time. It was one of the happiest times of my life. I found myself a little choked up watching this girl who loved animals as much as I, and knew at a gut level that God created them to His glory, and our delight. I don't think it is any accident that in Proverbs 12, the righteous are linked with loving animals, and contrasted with the cruelty of the wicked.

Proverbs 12: 10
10 The righteous care for the needs of their animals,
   but the kindest acts of the wicked are cruel.


  1. Amy sent this to me ...and I saw it on my facebook. It's beautifully written. I can just see Asherel sitting on the bleachers with the cat. Thanks for writing this, it helped a friend with a lonely heart for her dog that passed, heal a little more today.

  2. All of us who have ever lived an animal feel your pain, Luana. May you be comforted.