A few weeks ago, my husband Dan began volunteering at a horse rescue farm. Each time he came home, he described the animals, and his excitement at working with them was contagious.
I joined him one Saturday as an observer, knowing I would keep my distance from the horses. One of the volunteers explained some basic horse body language. “When their ears are straight up, you should be okay to touch them. But if their ears are lying back, stay away.” The most important instruction he gave, “Stay away from the back end of the horse. You might get kicked.”
The next weekend found me alongside Dan cleaning the watering troughs. He scrubbed and I commandeered the garden hose. He moved on to mucking the stalls. I continued filling the containers. The pungent smell of horse manure was too overwhelming for my sensitive city girl nose.
Rob, a long-term volunteer, brought me a bucket of fresh-picked grass to feed Shanti, a Chestnut standing near me. “Here, she’ll love this,” he said.
“You mean, I’m supposed to feed this to her out of my hand?”
“Of course. She won’t bite.” He turned and walked away, leaving me with a handful of grass and a bucket overflowing with the green horse snack. Her ears were straight up, so I assumed I was safe.
Shanti took the grass from my hand and then plunged her head right into the bucket, chomping her way through the verdant offering. She stopped chewing long enough to look me straight in the face as if to say, “Thank you, friend.”
I am way out of my comfort zone at the rescue farm. I’m not sure how valuable my services will be to the owner or to the horses. But I’m going back, willing to make a difference in the horses’ lives. Most have a history of abuse and neglect. Their remaining years will know comfort, care and love, even from a city slicker like me.
We often find ourselves outside our comfort zones with those we love, figuratively and literally. We venture into dangerous neighborhoods looking for our child or spouse. The emotional ups and downs of life with an addict take us into uncharted waters on occasion: anger, depression and hopelessness.
What do we do with these people we love?
Sometimes we can only give them something to eat and drink. Other times we can provide respite shelter. Helping locate treatment options can present opportunities for sober and clean living. Treatment facilities are much like the horse rescue farm in that they provide a place for people who’ve been tossed and turned, usually by their own choices, and need a place of healing and restoration. We do what we can to assist them and pray they plunge head long into recovery much like Shanti dove into her feeding bucket.
Stepping outside our comfort zones can save lives. Are you willing to move out of yours?
Blessings and hope for today.
Tags: comfort zone
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