I have learned many lessons since being diagnosed with Parkinson’s. One of these lessons was taught to me by my friend Nan Little. We were discussing her climb of Kilimanjaro and I brought up my desire to do some similar fete with a group comprised of individuals with the same diagnosis. Nan shared this wise comment “Do you really want your whole life to be about Parkinsons?” Her statement caused me to pause.
So with that explanation, I share this piece I wrote two years ago at the beginning of the Advent season, a time when Christians prepare for the coming of Jesus at Christmas.
(hint…its not about Parkinsons)
Scissors Nov. 27, 2017
4-H horsemanship was a wonderful experience in my life. My parents were not “horsey” people, so I relied on my 4-H leaders and neighborhood “horse people” for guidance in preparing for shows.
A big bay quarterhorse-thoroughbred mare, Shauna Alate, became my companion, best friend and confidant to see me through my tumultuous teenage years. I met her through a trainer who lived a short distance from our family home in Walla Walla, and purchased her, boarding her there for free in exchange for feeding and exercising horses. Shauna would do anything for me, as I would for her.
Shauna somehow got me to the grand championship round of the 4-H Fitting and Showing contest at the Southeastern Washington State fair. We didn’t win, but for me to show her at that level was about the coolest thing I had done horse-wise up to that time in my life.
During the training I received from 4-H, I learned that using a clippers or scissors on a horse was determined on the breed type and could be necessary to prepare a horse for show, but never was to be used a replacement for good grooming.
I thought about this a lot yesterday as I was checking over my horses, and combing out their wind twisted manes and tails. CJ had a big knot in her mane. I tried several different techniques to get the knot untangled, and then I took the easy way out. I got the scissors and cut it. Immediately I heard a voice say “scissors should never be used in place of good grooming”.
What complicated lives we lead. I know my life consists of so many tangles and twists and turns. Big knots develop. It hit me hard: follow the practice of keeping things straight, of keeping up the practice of “grooming”, the discipline of working on friendships, relationships, marriage, my personal faith journey, my weight, my level of fitness. The world that surrounds me now is so much different than my 4-H world of the 1960’s and 70’s. This world tells me if I don’t like the political affiliations of my friends, I unfriend them on Facebook. If there is an unwanted pregnancy the unborn person’s life can be terminated. A relationship with a once dear friend is lost in unanswered calls and texts. The bonds of marriage can be cut with a divorce decree. Adult children become estranged from the family.
Taking scissors to Shauna my 4-H horse was out of the question. I spent hours and hours with her, building trust and confidence, brushing her and working on her mane and tail. It was so worth the “grooming” to be able to enter that “championship round”.
The message here should be obvious. It was obvious to me. “Work” on it Carol. If people are important to you don’t cut them out of your life because of twists or turns or big tangles or rats nests. Use technology to contact them, but then put the technology away and look into their eyes as you speak in person. Work on that good marriage you have by uplifting your partner, communicating clearly, getting outside help if needed. Talk with those adult kids often, it’s so easy to forget them when they are far away…geographically or in mind and spirit.
Although I felt awful for getting the scissors out, CJ’s mane did not look too bad after I cut the knot. Yes it took some hard work to repair, hand pulling the mane around the big knot to even the hair length. I brushed her for quite some time. I checked her hooves and ran my hand over her entire body looking for wounds or sores or bumps. I talked and sang to her.
“Scissors” should never be used in place of “good grooming”.
This advent I will think about and act upon this thought.
Prepare ye the way of the Lord.