There are two options in this society, to help you or to help others. It’s a choice we usually don’t think about because it’s an inner consequence. Something that you face on your own, no one else can choose if you hold the door open for a crippled woman or if you rush inside to make your meeting on time. But these choices are why life is such an adventure. Because we could go our whole life rushing inside to make that meeting and not stopping to smell the roses but when we finally do...we feel Him. We begin to see things with new eyes. Feel with a new heart. Touch with a new understanding. There is a whole world out there of people who need you. I feel like our society shouldn’t be two options it should be one option, the option to help others and help you. I’ve made this a goal in my life since I began to sense God’s appreciation for my drive to help others.
I spent most of my time cleaning. “Would you mind cleaning out the brushes?” “Can you sweep the decks?” “Can you dust the bridles and organize the tack?” I couldn’t say no to these people. The warmness in their hearts was addicting and that was worthy of my hard work. But, cleaning wasn’t why I came to Friends for Therapeutic Equine Activities. FTEA is a program that used horses as therapy for people of all ages with any type of disability to achieve a therapeutic equine experience. When my name was finally called my head shot up and my heart beat faster. I was being assigned a position to lead a boy on a horse. All I could think about was myself and how his life was in my hands.
I didn’t think that helping different types of people ride around on horses would benefit me so much. I learned so much that day and after I left I still wanted to be there helping. Luke 6:38: Give, and it will be given to you; good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, they will pour into your lap. For by your standard of measure it will be measured to you in return. David was a teenage boy with a mild case of autism, he doesn’t speak but he listens. He’s incredible on a horse. He’s got such great balance that we didn’t even need to hold onto him. David knew a few sayings that would help him control the horse. Such as David right pocket, David left pocket, David sit, David stand, David whoa, and David squeeze. As I led David around the area for about an hour I had an eye opening moment. A moment that shapes me in my religion every day.
God has given every single human being the strength to help. He gives strength to the families and friends to support one another, FTEA staff for waking up every morning to help others in need, volunteers for wanting to help out as much as they can. Sometimes life isn’t about yourself and what you get out of it. It’s about how you can help others and become stronger from that experience. I have to believe that God didn’t put me on this earth just to sit around my bedroom and write a paper about helping others. He put me on this earth so that I would use the strength he gives me to help improve others lives. I don’t see any reason why I can’t help people. David had no clue who I was and really didn’t seem to care. As soon as we were all lined up I gripped the stirrup tightly for support as David swung his leg over the saddle. This was it, my arm supporting his weight and my knowledge his life. As David rode on I learned all sorts of new things about him, as well as myself. We played games with stuffed animals, threw hoops over cones, and did circles around barrels.
It’s surprising how people who can hardly communicate over voice can communicate to a horse. David and his horse, Crypt, would talk to each other through body language and both always understood. It was a truly beautiful friendship that I knew God had a part of. I’ve seen over a hundred different people ride horses. Each person has their own way to show their love through riding. I love riding because I get my courage from God and my experience at FTEA makes me wonder if any of the other riders find their courage there too. I told myself I’d spend an hour at FTEA and I spent a whole day learning that everyone is different. My whole life I’ve been a rider, and I thought we all rode the same but I was wrong. We ride because of who we are, and who we want to be. We do it because God represents those horses that heal us. We love it because of all the power we achieve, it’s a sport where we communicate without words, and love without effort. We all talk our own language and I believe that because of David’s inability to talk makes his connection with Crypt and maybe even our Lord stronger, being able to use his body to control things other than himself. In his own way this might be his way to connect with God too. Galatians 6:2: Bear one another's burdens, and thus fulfill the law of Christ. Being disabled will never hold David back, it will only make him stronger. I realize now that riding isn’t about the rush it gives it’s also about the strength and encouragement that God gives to push yourself to be a better person. Some people make riding an Olympic dream; others do it for the relaxation. I never realized it could be more than a competitive sport. But after FTEA I saw that helping others brought the Lord joy and that I need to help others build connections with him. I’ve built connections with horses, but never like the FTEA riders do. I’m envious, and everyone should fulfill whatever their dreams are. Having the courage to do something we love is where it all begins. I learned that being a horse back rider is a really special privilege, and I shouldn’t take advantage of it.
In summary, God holds each and every one of our hands through the good and bad. He gives the less fortunate amazing opportunities and people who support them. He gives me the strength to help them and guide them to the Lord. I truly believe that I was put here on this earth to help others. That’s all I’ve wanted to do since I was little. To help my family, to help my friends, to help the needy. I want everyone to be happy and it breaks my heart when people aren’t. If spending a few hours at FTEA can bring a smile to someone’s face is all it takes then I’d do it again in an instant. I love that trait about myself, that’s the reason God put me here. To make people smile, even when sometimes I can’t. To improve the world I want to do more community service. This will bring me closer to God and also closer to myself. Phil 4:13: I can do everything through him who gives me strength.