Finding Good & Getting Over Fear of Losing It

horse in snowstorm
Luke in 2004

I’ve been working on a chapter in my book about a time when I’d been thrown off a horse (not Luke) and broke my collarbone and wrist. I already had the story written and was just going to clean it up and add a couple things, but as I read what I had written, I realized that the story had been about more than I thought when I originally wrote it.

My horse accident happened at a time in my life when I was extremely happy. I had never had so much in my life that was so good. And I had never had so much to lose. I was terrified.

I couldn’t help but hear my childhood voices asking me, “Who do you think you are?”

horse and dog

I’d been raised to not trust anything good that happened because surely I’d screw it up or someone would take it away from me. The worst sin in my childhood home was to take pride in something you did or to believe you actually deserved anything but hard work and suffering.

After the accident, I couldn’t ride the horse that threw me. I dreaded getting on him and he knew it. I tried for a year to get back to where we had been but it was no use, so I sold him.

It took another year to get my confidence back by riding Luke. Not that Luke was perfect. He was four and would rear whenever something freaked him out. But while I couldn’t deal with a horse that intentially tried to dump people, I seemed to have a gift in calming down fear in animals. If only I was as gifted at calming my own worries.

horseback riding
Luke and me in 2003. My painter pants were ever so flattering.

Being around horses was when I felt most myself. And when I felt most myself, I felt okay. It was only when I questioned who I was and what I was doing that I turned into a basket case.

When I rode, the loneliness and the busyness and confusion in my brain all went away. They disappeared in the movement, the speeding up and slowing down, the turns, and the patterns Luke and I traced across the ground.

All my attention was focused on our surroundings, the feel of the ground under hooves, and on each muscle, both Luke’s and mine, doing the job it was supposed to be doing at that instant.

Riding was a series of concentrated, perfectly present moments.

horse and dog

I wanted to figure out how to hold onto those minutes of being so completely present and bring them into the rest of my life. To not feel bad about what I’d done in the past, or angry about what had been done to me, or worried about what I might accomplish or not accomplish in the future, but to just experience and be fully present here and now. I wanted to remember that even the so called bad times, would become memories that I would look back on later. And, from the distance of time, I would see the treasure there and wish that I had realized it then. So, I wanted, I still want, to know the good right now. Even if it doesn’t feel good right now.

I heard a podcast about the difference between good and perfect by Rob Bell. What I got out of it was that perfect is stagnant. There’s no room for growth. While good is something becoming. Good is okay with the times that we make a wrong turn, or a mistake, or the wrong choice because good knows that there’s still room for us to learn and grow. There’s still time to find more that’s good or a different good or even a bad that becomes a good.

Contrary to the saying, it’s not ALL good. But it has the possibility to get there…

horse and dog

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  1. “good is something becoming” Yes! And enjoying, somehow, all the bumps (and falls) along the way. And you are right, I think we are all learning as we go along, and arriving at similar places. And I love that. xoxo

  2. Excellent post! I appreciate that when you felt most yourself you were totally present, kind in that “zone”. This fits right in with what I am studying and reading about these days.

    I always enjoy what you share here. Your writing inspires me to do better.

    1. Thank you Deborah. I saw your writing about your similar journey in your recent post. Feeling similarly inspired by your writing…

  3. I’m so very glad that you wrote this post! It tells me so much more about you and gives me lots to think about, too, and the photos are just terrific!

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