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Lose a vision, gain a focus - Cowgirl Chronicles


Peace and Sadness

Growing up  I had two roommates, and I didn’t know if they could ever cooperate with each other. Usually, when “Peace” did come home he crept through the door in the morning for some hot cocoa and a quick chat, then Peace, “peaced-out”.  He never did hang out for very long, and I never got to know Peace very well. There was always unrest, unsettlement, and unhappiness when I was growing up. To my childlike brain, I had a very elementary understanding of peace. To me peace stood for: complacency, neutrality, stillness without meaning, and submission.  Peace was always welcome, but was never around.

“Sadness” was also a shitty roommate. Always paid rent on time but he left his muddy boots in the hall, never washed his dishes and was always complaining about how hard the day was. It was truly a drag hanging around Sadness. I could hear his depressing emo-rock music in the wee hours of the morning, he was passed out on the couch from drinking too much, and sometimes even when he didn’t come home his presence still wafted through the windows and vents. I wished Sadness would just move on.

It wasn’t until a recent particularly devastating story that I discovered – Peace andSadness could come home and be under the roof at the same time. And if they both paid the rent, then I guess they could stay. Luckily after experiencing the first double occupancy of Peace and Sadness, it led me to be prepared for a second and even more devastating experience this year. That’s the thing though; sometimes you have to learn to live with both of them. And I learned somehow they each take the edge off of each other.

Image by: Lowercase Imaging.

In 2007 I bought my first ‘real’ barrel horse. She was gorgeous, well bred, and had fancy baggage. Not the leather kind marked “LV” (Louis Vuttion). But the kind that said, I’m almost too sad to change. I worked with her for 8 years. In a way we both rescued each other. She went from rearing and flipping over backwards in the alley, to trailer loading at liberty. From prancing in a twisted wire gag-bit, to slow loping bridle-less. Her anxious teeth-grinding turned into calm lick-and-chew responses.  She was one cool mare that lent me most of my current credentials. I felt free with her, and at peace on her back. Many times I looked into her eyes and said with my heart, “I will take care of you forever; your home is with me.”

Fast forward to present day adult life. With 3 horses, a human toddler and business to run; I was beginning to feel the buzz of childhood drift away and the headache of responsibility set in. (It’s a hangover that you’ll get to experience on the ‘other side’ of life development.) My strung-out sense of self and schedule wasn’t doing anyone any favors. The mare I had trained from several years ago was now retired, and the geldings I was bringing up into stardom were not pulling their weight. A few family dinners  made and eaten a little past 8 pm, a few bills paid on an extension and my business was losing its magic touch it once possessed. A nagging Sadness was telling me he’d be arriving on a Friday, but showed up early – knocking at my door on a Wednesday. He was back.

I knew I had to thin the herd. But how do you choose between family members? Who do you choose not to let drown? At least that’s what it felt like because I wasn’t raised in a sale barn. Around here, if you bought em’, ya kept em’.  In order to decide who and what needed to go to lighten the load, I had to dig deep for a special kind of tool. One that was strong enough to cut away baggage and sharp enough to point to my future. The harsh truth was that my mare was no longer serving me. And my goals to change to performance horse industry were on the chopping block.

Sometime during a quite drive with my conscience I heard the Holy Spirit ask me gently and directly, “How bad do you want me to help you, help others?” My response was flippant: Well – what do you think I’ve been sacrificing my whole life for this whole time? He just responded, “Things that served you once, brought you lesson’s you’ve already learned. If you don’t let it go it will continue to steal your joy and sabotage your focus.’ And right there I knew I was about to incur a big wound, but even bigger freedom. His peace didn’t dilute the sadness of needing to sell my mare, but it made my vision guilt free and at peace.

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This was a pivotal point in my life. Typically when Sadness trudged through the door, I couldn’t get him to leave. But this time was the first time I was allowed to be sad without victimizing depression taking control.  Luckily the Prince of Peace pulled up in the drive the same time that sadness was swerving around the bend to crash my party. Never before had Sadness and Peace been in the house at the same time. (Kind of awkward, like when your high school boyfriend and husband meet.) In the past, Sadness felt like: loss, neglect, abandonment and distraction. Anytime Sadness came, he came to stay and didn’t leave room on the couch for any other feelings to process. He was rude!

Peace is liberating though. He might not bring cookies to the door, but he brings focus and freedom. If Sadness acts like a cut, Peace neutralizes the sting.

In our American/Western Culture we define our version of peace as: freedom from disturbance, quietness, or tranquility. Which is why I never understood “peace” before!  When is life actually EVER FREE from disturbances?! If you live disembodied from your purpose, I guess? Or if you refuse to feel the refinement of becoming a human here, maybe? Peace is waving the white flag of acceptance, submitting to giving up in our world.

This Spring, I learned about Peace’s true identity and how to invite him to stay at the house more often. If we apply peace as it’s original meaning it begins to make more sense to our soul. The word ‘peace’ comes from the “ Hebrew root slm, which means “to be complete” or “to be sound.” The verb conveys both a dynamic and a static meaning”to be complete or whole” or “to live well.”  How are we supposed to take the culture-rized version of ‘disturbance free’ and apply it to feeling whole and living well? You better believe me that selling my horse of a lifetime was a GREAT disturbance, and my reasoning and hindsight didn’t leave me too tranquil either. This decision to move her on brought me immense sadness. But I’d also never felt a greater amount of peace about a decision before.

This story sheds light on how Peace and Sadness can co-habitat. Once I’d made one of the saddest choices of my life, peace set in and let me feel whole, renewed my focus to live well and be sound.

Sadness is a fair sacrifice for those you love. They are the clients who are in my future whom I already adore and admire. I couldn’t help them if my wages, focus and energy were spread too thin among too many horses, customers and circumstances that were no longer serving me.  Peace gave me this perspective.

Sadness is necessary for grieving an old part of yourself that you tried so hard to develop. Respectable things with authenticity and quality don’t just ripen over night. This horse of mine needed some serious TLC in order to be a trustworthy partner. Peace gave me this perspective.

Sadness is welcome when you know individuals could be better served in another circumstance. How is a horse with an advanced education (highly trained) given justice by rotting away in a pasture? How are my skills being honed by holding on to projects I’ve already completed? Peace gave me this perspective.

Poor Peace is misunderstood. People may think that having peace with your purpose and passion is a dreamy vision: Sitting on a grassy mound over looking the sunset in a yoga pose. Peace is remaining WHOLE in the sacrifices you have to make for big dreams and crystal clear focus, and Sadness is the feeling that comes with processing loss of something once gained.

How often do your roommates, Peace and Sadness visit? Do they get along? Do you have the obedience to feel Peace when Sadness leaves his socks beside the hamper? God gives wisdom to those who seek it (James 1:5) but that doesn’t mean it comes without out some visitors.  Yielding to God’s peace will grant you wisdom and focus for your purpose of His will, will you let Him?

*Editors note: That sweet sorrel mare is blessed to have a wonderful new owner’s heart to imprint and soul to enlighten. Her new owner was part of the outpouring of God’s peace, and I am grateful for that.

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