The Idea of Horses

by Andy Wood on December 10, 2014

in Five LV Laws, Following Your Passion, Life Currency, Love, LV Cycle, Principle of Abundance


I have always loved horses.

Ever since I looped one of Mama’s belts for a stirrup and mounted the arm of our couch, using a bent coat hanger for a cowboy hat (we wuz broke back then), I have loved horses.

Ever since the days of Trigger and Silver, “My Friend Flicka,” and Black Beauty, I have loved horses.  I love the faithfulness of their companionship.  I love the elegant beauty they demonstrate when they race.  I love their strength and power, which remains to this day the standard by which mechanical engines are measured.

Even now, horses turn my head and, if it’s available, my camera.  They’re just magnificent animals.

That said, I’ve rarely ever actually ridden a horse.  Only galloped once – thought I was sure to take the dirt nap, or at least have dirt for dinner.

I have never held a curry comb in my hand, much less brushed down a steed after a long ride.

I have never dressed a wound, picked out a hoof, cut and hauled hay, or hauled oats daily to a trough in the wintertime.

I have never gone out in sub-freezing temperatures to dress a horse in a winter blanket, or trudged to the barn to shovel out a stall.

I have never built a fence or repaired one after a frightened horse kicked it down in a storm.

I have never watched over a mare as she foaled, or brushed back tears as I had to put down a faithful companion.

See, the truth is, I don’t love horses.  I just love the idea of horses.  I love the benefits that horses provide me as an observer or a spectator.  But I have never had to pay the price that love requires to say that I truly love horses.

Horses? That’s Just for Starters

The same could be said for so many other things, and the same could be said for you.

It’s not football you love, unless, of course, you’ve paid the price that love requires to say you truly love football.  You don’t love two-a-days, relentless conditioning, jaw-jarring hits, and the smell of a locker room. You love the idea of football, where you can sit in front of a TV with your chips and beer and second-guess the coach and quarterback.

It’s not America you love, unless you’ve paid the price that love requires to say you truly love America (or whatever country you call home).  When you’ve paid through the nose in taxes, or given a limb or a life or a son or daughter for the freedoms we all share, or when you have exercised your right to vote and given of your time to build up your community, then you can say you love it.  Otherwise, you just love the idea of America, where you can exercise your free speech, receive your almost-free education, and sleep in relative peace and safety tonight because somebody paid to provide those services for you.

It’s not family or children you love, unless you’ve paid the price that love requires to say you truly love children.  When you’ve walked a crying baby for hours in the night, given up a promotion or job for the sake of your kids, forgiven the inevitable stupid gush of “I hate you!” or welcomed a Prodigal back home, talk to me about loving kids or family.  Otherwise, you just love the idea of children, where you can play dress-up and take cute little pictures to post on Facebook.

It’s not your spouse you love, unless you’ve paid the price the love requires to say you truly love him or her.  When you have said you’re sorry more times than you care to count, forgiven more times than you wish to remember, laughed and cried and worked together with one person so much that time without them truly seems empty, then talk to me about loving your partner.  Otherwise, you just love the idea of marriage, where the sex is legal and you get to play house for keeps with somebody.

It’s not Jesus you love, unless you’ve paid the price that love requires to say you truly love Jesus.  When you’ve stayed faithful to Him after everybody else bailed out, when you’ve given sacrificially to advance His Kingdom or serve those He called “the least of these,” or when you have abandoned all other priorities to pursue His heart, then you can say you’ve kept your First Love.  Otherwise, you just love the idea of Jesus, where you can go to church and sing little ditties about Heaven or how awesome He is, and maybe find forgiveness for your guilt because of the price He so willingly paid for you to receive it.

Is it Worth It?

The point in all this is that there is a difference between loving and loving the idea of someone or something.  Loving ideas is cheap, quick, and easy.  Love – the real kind – comes at a price.  And frankly, if the object of love has any value at all, it will have you second-guessing whether it’s worth it.

Just ask the equine breeder as she brushes down that magnificent animal, talking to him the whole time with the expectation that he understands every word she’s saying.  Ask her if it’s worth it to feel one with the horse as she glides effortlessly on his back on that warm spring afternoon.

Ask the quarterback as he rushes off the field, having just completed a championship season, knowing he was part of something special, not because his team got a trophy, but because it was a team effort.  Ask him if it’s worth it to feel one with that special group of coaches and teammates as they celebrate together in the locker room.

Ask the veteran as he salutes the flag with a memory that is completely unique to him of the risks and service he experienced, standing in the place of those who paid the ultimate sacrifice. Ask him if it’s worth it to feel one with a nation that for him still remains a cause or ideal worth dying for.

Ask the father as walks his daughter down the aisle at her wedding, woefully flooded with conflicting feelings of inadequacy, grief, pride and joy.  Ask him if it’s worth it to feel the most at one with his little girl at precisely the moment he’s about to release her to the love of another.

Ask the wife of the Alzheimer’s patient as she dutifully attends to her partner of a half century, searching wistfully for any sign of recognition on his face of the life they’ve shared together.  Ask her if it’s worth it to feel one with a man who has no capacity to feel one with anybody at all.

Ask the faithful disciple as she rises early before day and, Bible in hand, listens for the voice of her Beloved as He speaks truth and encouragement to her.  Ask her if it’s worth it to feel one with the Creator and Redeemer of her heart, who stands ready to hear her prayer and heal her hurts.

It’s easy to love the idea of horses.  Or the idea of anything for that matter.

But love – real love – costs.

Is it worth it?

I think you know the answer to that.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Robin Wood December 10, 2014 at 12:33 pm


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