Struggle and Surrender

I’ve never been much of an equestrian, but I admire the artistry and skill displayed by horses and riders. I’m fascinated by the way that the large, powerful horse submits to its rider. And the rider must earn that respect and submission through persistent, faithful training. This blend of talent, nature and skill pushes both man and horse to new limits.

Imagine a beautiful mustang running wild and free in an open field, enjoying the freedom we all dream of. Sometimes, he feeds from a rancher’s trough and slips away before the rancher can touch him.

Is it the struggle that matters, or what we become as we engage in it?

The rancher knows the wild mustang well, and he respects the beautiful creature. This morning, the mustang is hungry and feeds from the rancher’s trough. Tomorrow, maybe he’ll stay.

Time passes, and the mustang gets stronger and wiser. He visits the ranch often and enjoys the company of the other horses on the ranch. He watches from a safe distance as the rancher trains the other horses.

One morning, the rancher finds the wild mustang running around in the corral. Could this be the day he has been waiting for?  He approaches gently as both sense one another. The horse heads to the exit just before the rancher closes the corral. Both breathe heavily. The rancher smiles and turns away, leaving the gate open.

Months pass and the rancher wonders if he’ll ever see the wild mustang again.

And then one day, the rancher finds the wild mustang running laps in his corral. The rancher enters the corral and closes the gate behind him.

For a long time, I felt like the wild mustang. In my own eyes, I was everything I needed to be. I tried to fill the void in my life with material things. But what I really needed was to end the struggle and learn how to be more than a simple consumer. I needed something greater to which I could surrender myself.

Looking back now, I can see how huge and all-consuming my struggle to keep everyone happy, to please, and to perform was. I’m over it. Although this season has been overwhelming, I’ve been set free from all of those struggles. I’m learning what true freedom is: living a simple life, enjoying simple activities, and most importantly, learning to live in the present.

As I embrace silence and solitude, I’m learning about myself—the lost, but now found, Gracie.