Your Last Day Ever
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Girls can really bond. They have this massive sensitivity to love which unfortunately comes with this colossal sensitivity to hurt.
Take a girl and a horse. When two perfect companions find each other it’s a match made in heaven. Hours upon hours are spent literally in close contact in the saddle, even when preparation from the ground seems like a needy little child. The fact is, horses are labor intensive. They’re
problematic. They eat a lot. They poop a lot.
Horse owners build dwellings and fence pastures always preparing for the worst but expecting the best. Saddles, bridles and boots are designed for function in the worst of times. It takes years to build a relationship where a girl and a horse create magic, where each knows the other and cues become innate, and especially where the good is never overshadowed by that rare occurrence called “a bad ride.”
Who knows who’s to blame for it but every rider knows there will come a day when there’s only one thing left to do: put him away and come back tomorrow.
Surprisingly, most of the time, the sunrise makes it possible for one to say to the other:
"I’m sorry. I screwed up. This was not my intent."
Then they pick up where they left off.
Women can really bond. They have this massive sensitivity to spread their love thin which unfortunately comes with this colossal sensitivity to harbor hurt.
Take any group of women. Within it examine the intermingling of pods of best friends who come together as a group of acquaintances. Empowerment can be gained or lost depending on the slant of feelings on any given day, but the overall goal of meeting with friends in the first place, is to feel better when you leave than when you arrived.
At least that’s mine.
That girl and her horse have many names but one common thread: Their bond is timeless—the connection limitless. They are many and they are all as one in pure potentiality.
They are the best of friends, they are the worst of friends. One shows the other what joy there is in overcoming fear and hurt and taking the next step. They give one another confidence, teach one another patience, and push one another into other realms of possibility. On their best days, they ride through life, soaring across green pastures, sailing on air. On the numerous others, they each exist in their own perspective worlds, rejoicing in what they’ve become together, awaiting the chance to take it to the next level.
But things happen. A misstep at a high rate of speed doesn’t lend well to recovery. While hanging out doing what horses do, the irreversible sometimes happens. There is one certain truth—we will all meet our maker. And when death comes knocking, someone will be gone and the rest of us will be left to deal with what I call “the hard stuff.”
It can hurt. Bad. Seeing a girl struggle with the decision to put her horse down is an atrocity against girls. It’s an atrocity against all they stand for. It’s an atrocity against everything that makes them sensitive and fun-loving and youthful and makes them want to fix their hair and dress in fluff and dream of dating a prince.
We try to distract from the hurt with questions: how did it happen, what was he doing, could it have been prevented? Is there someone to blame? What if there was? What if a little investigative work could prevent another misstep? People say maybe some good will come of it. We need to know everything has a reason. We depend upon everything needing a purpose. But what if there was no purpose? What if it was an accident? What if our four-legged friend forgot about the rocky patch while racing his best mate because he was in sheer joy for the dash of a moment?
What if there is no way to keep horses from showing their speed. What if there is no way to ever prevent a broken bone on an animal who appears to have enough legs to spare but can’t do without even one?
In a single moment, a relationship you hoped would never end, abruptly comes to a close. Before the last breath is drawn, minds still mingle with the thought that a better alternative exists. But I think horses know. I think standing there in excruciating pain, knowing more than humans do that the end is near and there’s nothing to fear, this horse said the only thing left to say to his beloved girl: "Sweetie, I’m sorry. I fucked up. This was not my intent."
I’m always surprised at how messages arrive. This tragedy actually happened and it’s been conjuring up emotion in me all day when he wasn’t even mine. I know this didn’t happen to me. I know it didn’t happen for me. But I know it happens all the time to help us grasp what’s important and I know what that message is: you have to learn to distinguish between a little conflict and true, cavernous hurt.
His demise hurt. In contrast, disagreement is simply a little conflict.
The right horse doesn’t always come along right away. If dreams are held fast, eventually the timing will be right. But in the search, there will be times when things don’t go as planned or “a bad day” got in the way, buttons got pushed and things didn’t end well.
Gaining friends, making friends and keeping friends is a lot like that. When the going gets tough, sometimes the insensitivity flag gets thrown and layers of justification and rationalization are picked through, accompanied by what feels like hurt, when truly one statement is all that is needed to put a stop to the whole snowball:
"I’m sorry. I fucked up. This was not my intent."
I’ve had a lot of horses. The best ones, when they weren’t on their game said this from a place of great respect, but the others who were out to create a world of chaos in spite of my best efforts, always went, at least in my life, down the road. Then sometimes I was to blame and I bucked up and said it. But sometimes it wasn’t as much that we couldn’t work it out as we were too different to make it work.
Everyone will find their place in this world. At each moment we are in the place we choose. All the choices we made have led us to this moment. In each moment we can move toward joy or away from it. I know I didn’t need to feel hurt when I read about a girl’s horse today. I chose to connect to it because it was written in my language. His was the message I needed to hear. It was timely. It was profound. And it was perfect.
It also hurt like a son-of-a-bitch.
That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t strive to find our perfect horse. That we shouldn’t ride to the best of our abilities. That we shouldn’t make choices based on the potential for joy instead of averting hurt. That we should ignore the possibility of this day being our last.
Imagine this day being your last. Oh, the things I could let go...
Thanks for reminding me of that, Hey Boy. Thanks for helping me put things in perspective. Thanks for helping me get out the hurt I didn’t even know I had. Thanks for being the brave messenger.
Most of all, thanks for taking a girl to the next level.
Rest in peace.