Saturday, July 21, 2012

Confession #5 - I hate surprises!

 While on our honeymoon my husband and I went horseback riding.  Since that was about the 2nd time in my life that I had been on a horse, and since I'm a chunky girl, I wasn't too sure about this experience.  I'm am not necessarily an adventurous person by nature, normally I live vicariously through my more adventurous friends and family.  For example roller coasters are not my thing; the thought of dropping so that I can't feel the bottom of my stomach is not a fun one!  I suppose it's because I'm a control freak.  We'll get to that in another confession, but for now it's back to our regularly scheduled program - I hate surprises. 

As I was saying...I was not happy about getting on a horse.  All the other people got their horses before me; it seemed the guide had a special horse picked just for me.  The guide said in a strong cowboy accent, "Ma'am your horse is named Surprise."  Surprise?  I thought, "Why's he called Surprise?"  "As long as you don't kick him you won't find out", he replied.  I didn't like the thought of riding on Surprise.  But seeing as I wasn't planning on kicking him, I trepidatiously mounted Surprise and we began our journey through the foothills just outside Las Vegas, NV.

It was nice. I thought this is great, even tho Surprise was the slowest horse on the trail, and most of my view was of all the other horses behinds we were managing.  I was snapping pictures and having fun when I thought it'd be nice if I talk to him, "Surprise, you're such a good horse,  nice horsey, you like going for a walk?"  I was petting him and he seemed to like it.  But my interest in Surprise took my focus off staying on the trail and the horse was now meandoring through thorny brush pausing to chomp on the corse clumbs of grass.  With noone in sight I was getting scared.  Have I mentioned I'm a city slicker?  To complicate matters I had not realized that Surprise and I had been climbing uphill.  It became clear when I looked down and saw the rest of my group about 3 feet below off in a distance.  I freaked out. How was I going to get this horse turned around back down the hill and meet up with every one else?  Recalling the short training we got at the start of our tour, I lifted the reigns and and jerked to the right with a small kick to the hind area.  Surprise! He didn't move.  With the others getting farther and farther in the distance, I tried it again, slightly harder.  Nothing.  I figured I could reason with him.  "Come on Surprise, I'll give you a sugar cube when we get back."  Nope.  I tried it again, only harder. He didn't so much as blink. "LET'S GO!" I yelled and kicked him hard.  To my surprise, I could barley hang on as the horse bucked back and charged forward off that cliff.  I screamed at the top of my lungs, "STOP, STOP!!!" and pulled back the reigns but Surprise didn't pay me any attention.  My poor chunky body was bobbing up and down vigorously.  Screaming the whole way, "HELP ME I CAN'T STOP HIM!!!!!!!!!!!!".  I prayed, I cursed, and I wished I had worn the support bra I'd packed. Surprised raced past the group and didn't stop until we got back to the ranch.  I should never have promised him the darn sugar cube!

Back of the pack

That was in 1996 and I haven't been on a horse since.  However, Surprise taught me an important lesson that day, he taught me that I hate surprises!  The unfortunate part is that life is full of them.  Some good, some not so good.  I know God has a sense of humor because He would not have sent some of the surprises I've had. And while He knows that I'm not adventurous, He keeps pushing me beyond my fears and reservations to go the distance for Him.  And when I'm resistant, He sends horses like Surprise to get me going.  My prayer today is that I can learn to embrace the surprises that God has in store for me with a willing and humble heart and even thank him for even some "bad" surprises because they might just be a blessing in disguise.  It reminds me of Job who I'd guess was probably very surprised when in one fell swoop lost his children, his fortune, and his health.  Surprise Job!  Even Job's wife told him to curse God and die, but Job chose to stick by his faith, "...and God blessed the latter part of his life more than the first." Job 42:12.

"Lord help me to embrace the surprises you have in store for me with a grateful heart.  Let me see the treasure in my trails, let me face my fears and be bold for you all the time."  AMEN
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