Monday, January 31, 2011

Dirty Hands

Drama and Magdalene at the PCHA show this weekend, always soaring to new heights.

I think each of us wants to be the kind of person that others look up to, that can be depended upon for anything, or wants to amount to something great in life.  Yet the first time we stick our necks out there on the line and take a risk to really love someone, we end up getting hurt, and sometimes, in the end, we decide that being that "great person" we'd hoped to be, is not worth the price in pain we have to pay.  Yes, I often wish it didn't have to be that way, as I've experienced a good deal of pain in my life, but it's just the way it is.

I don't do this very often, but at times in my life I have been prompted to "bless" my horses, with a spoken, verbal blessing.  Tonight, was one of those times.  I remembered that they had not been blanketed tonight and then temp called for blankets, so I trudged out to the barn.  I started with Drama, and as I put his on him, I gave him a hug and a kiss and told him that he had done a good job today on our fun trail ride in Flatwoods park.  I stopped for a minute to think of his life, who he is and what he has become, and that's when it prompted me to give him a blessing.  Which, I don't remember exacts, but it went something like this: 

"Drama, I have loved you since day one.  And I am so happy to have you in my life.  I am proud of how hard you work and what you have accomplished in life, and I am happy that you have been given to me, and how you have encouraged me when I needed it the most.  You are a thing of beauty.  I adore how your brilliance and your passion exude from you, and how your movement is like poetry in motion.  I bless you, Drama, with wisdom as you continue to learn how to channel that passion and brilliance, as you learn how to work with your rider so that the two of you can continually become more dynamic, that the message for which you were created, for which you were designed, and for which you were set apart for will continue to be shared wherever you go.  I look forwards to watching you as you excel in life and for the years ahead, as you continue to conquer the challenges of life the lay ahead of you.  May you overcome the unsurmountable and continue to astound those around you."

Even as I spoke to him and caressed his neck, as I felt the fitness of his body, I could feel how alert he was to everything around him.  His ears were erect and his eyes were focused forwards on something, his breathing was deep and ready for action. 

I went next to Starbucks, laying peacefully in the still of the late night, starry skies overhead.  I blessed him with grace and gentleness, that he would continue to find it within the depths of himself to give peace, security, and encouragement to his rider, that he would give many the hope of achieving things they otherwise might not get. That he would be a giver, giving to people what they do not deserve and what they do not know how to ask for. 

Sammy was next in line, I love how quiet and and strong he stands.  How he listens and looks at you as if he can understand words, his all-knowing eyes.  I blessed him with the ability to give others comfort and security with his strength, and that he would always use his strength through the paths of gentleness, that his boldness and his courage and his strength would be a source of peace for his riders.

I went next to Raz, the silly old man who continually searched my hands and my pockets, just hoping I had brought him a treat.  I thanked him for his wisdom and his talent, his finnesse.  I told him I appreciated the many years of hard work he had gone through to obtain the levels that so many of us will never see.  And yet, he has found joy and delight in serving and teaching us all, helping us learn and experience that sense of perfection that is so rarely found.  And I blessed him with many healthy years ahead to continue to delight in the rewards of his life of hard work.

Gallery was there as well, and for her, I gave her a blessing of always loving life, always finding the delight in learning and experiencing new things.  To enjoy the process of what it means to be molded and sculpted into a thing of grace, talent and beauty, and to continue to bring happiness and satisfaction to her rider for many years' worth of rides that lay ahead of her.

And last, simply by default of the paddock layout, was Big Bird.  We had just watched the movie Secretariat and I afterwards realized that the sire, Bold Ruler, is in his bloodline as well.  I know so little about racing, but I admire the pure heart they have to put into their work, period.  I appreciate how difficult it is to rewire a brain to think along a different path.  And I know how much work it will take.

So I blessed him with the ability to graciously accept this new change of thought processes his mind and body will have to embrace, that once, he was asked to be fervid and fierce, yet now he is being asked to be gentle, quiet and thoughtful for his work.  And that heart which he knows all too well how to set loose, will be captivated and channeled into paths of greatness that lay ahead of him.  That the inconceivable and unattainable, even in the virtue of the simple tasks such as standing quiet and still, will be grasped quickly and steadfastly.  And that one day his passion and fierceness will be demonstrated in ways that will bring astonishment to many. 

After I was done, and came back inside, I looked at my hands.  They were black.  And I thought, how easy it is to bless someone or something, or to say that we love them, but how hard it is to stand beside them, and with them, while the process is taking place, while they struggle to learn and to grow.  It is so hard to day after day, try and try and fall flat on our faces.  It's hard when the pain surges and the fears take a stranglehold.  Yet, we must listen to that voice that says, "try again."  And that, my friends, is who I want to be, and what I want to do.  So I'm thankful for my dirty hands and hope they will always be so.  Dirty from being involved, going to the depths, into the darkness where no one wants to go, from being on the front lines, from being passionate and at war with the past and the things that hold us down, and from grasping that which seems unattainable and incomprehensible.

Yes, I'm thankful for dirty hands.  And I hope I will never forget that the toil and the sweat and the "dirt" here on earth will one day be rewarded.  And I really look forwards to that.


  1. Awesome and heartfelt. Very nice Nicole!

  2. I love this picture and analogy, Nik!!

    A couple of weeks ago in church, we heard a message called "Hospital for the Hurting" and he talked about how churches and Christians have become afraid to get dirty and grimy. Some have become so focussed on keeping themselves and their church clean that they have lost God's intention for the body of Christ.

    This quote was so awesome "Church is a hospital for sinners, not a museum for saints." It makes me think of so many people I know that are simply a picture perfect statue in a museum of a church. It's really sad. That's the farthest thing from what God's purpose for us is!!

    This message really struck home with Joe especially, because he was raised with that "keep it clean and holy" mentality and therefore had no idea what true ministry looked like. It's not just revivals on street corners. It's the gritty, daily investment into the lives of hurting people. It's being brave enough to show that you too are hurting and in an ever going process of healing and to RELATE with other people, believers and non-believers. You will get bloody, beaten, soiled, but there will be true change in you and others because of it. Joe hasn't stopped talking about how this concept has touched his heart. It's really got his wheels turning, and I love it!

    If you want to put this on next time you clean the house at 2am or something, (haha) here's the link to the message:

    A couple weeks later, Beth Jacoby posted a quote on fb-"If we are not magnets for the sexually confused, the violent, the greedy, the arrogant and the addicts, we are missing our main purpose in God's kingdom."

    And then you posted this blog entry. I think God's trying to get this point across to me! Thank you for sharing! :)

  3. We say, "Tell me where it hurts, but in my language/terminology." We say, "Let me help with your wounds, but don't get blood in my car." This is hypocrisy. This is not love.