What A Horse Taught Me About ‘Loss Of Purpose’

It was one of those moments that come with a casual observation, followed by an epiphany.

I seldom venture into the downtown Dallas area, and even more rarely on a Saturday afternoon. I can’t remember the last time I did so, but in the past, downtown was always dominated by visitors and tourists. The historic West End is the number one entertainment district, which also includes the Sixth Floor Museum of the JFK assassination infamy. As an additional tourist attraction, there is a service that provides horse drawn carriage rides in this area.

This is where my learning moment came from.

I was heading home, and winding through some of the cities streets, only minutes away from the North Dallas Tollway, and a quick twenty minute ride home. As I passed through an intersection, I noticed the horse drawn carriage, with the driver, and two passengers sitting at a red light. There was nothing remarkable about the scene, but I gathered much from a quick glance. The driver of the carriage was perched in his seat at an angle, so that he could see ahead and behind, and interact with his passengers, though everyone seemed quiet. I also glanced at the horse, which really got my attention. The white horse didn’t seem particularly well groomed or nourished. In fact, it seemed to me that it was dirty, although, it could have been the distinctive coloring of this horse, but more than anything else, I noticed it’s dejected spirit.

I should state, at this point, that I have always been an admirer of horses, they are magnificent animals, and I have owned and ridden a few, over the years. However, it always troubled me, that in order to ride a horse, it first had to have it’s spirit ‘broken.’

So, here was a scene, intended to reflect the historic area, with a horse drawn carriage, but in the midst of a built up urban center, with towering buildings, traffic lights, and paved roads. It is, to me, a fraud, a service sold as a sort of bucolic fun, but it is only another method to extract money from those willing to play along. I can’t imagine this service is very lucrative, certainly not now, with the decline in the economy, and far fewer tourists to the area. Yet, here was this old horse, strapped to a buggy with rubber lined wooden wheels, trudging along in a busy urban area.

I stopped at the next intersection for a red light, and watched in my mirrors, as the carriage turned onto the same street I was on.
Each hoof movement, was matched with the horse in the way he moved his head. The horse never lifted its head up, there was no joy or pride in what it was doing, and with its low hanging head bobbing along with each step, my heart plunged, as I could read its body language, having experienced a similar feeling. It was just putting one hoof in front of another, with the clopping sound of its large hooves being the only affirmation that it was actually alive.

I’m watching this scene, which only takes moments in my life, but it scans my minds eye for a life time of learning experiences.

What does a horse know about life? We know they have emotions, and are one of God’s creatures that we have dominion over, but do horses even know they exist? Do horses have dreams? What is the purpose of a horse? For that matter, what is the purpose of a horse drawn carriage in this age?

I have given this some thought, the last few days, and have come to at least one conclusion, that a horse cannot know what a ‘loss of purpose’ is.

Every human knows what it is like to have purpose, and to have loss of purpose. One of the best examples is the empty feeling when a loved one is taken from us. Another may be in a job loss, or reversal of fortune, when what gave daily life meaning and purpose, is taken away. It can seem that the person may never be happy again, that the possibility of ever enjoying life again, is inconceivable. Yet, we continue on, clop by clop, step by step, as long as we believe, that we know, there is purpose in our doing so.

In Rick Warren’s ‘Purpose Driven Life’ he states:

So regardless of the circumstances of your birth, you can celebrate the fact that God created you to be you. God never does anything accidentally, and he never makes mistakes. He has a reason for everything he creates. Every plant and every animal was planned by God for a purpose, and every person was designed
with a purpose in mind, too. God’s motive for creating you is his love. The Bible says, “Long before he laid down earth’s foundations, he had us in mind, had settled on us as the focus of his love.”
God was thinking of you even before he made the world.

Warren is correct, there would be no purpose or reason for our existing, if it weren’t for God’s love. There would be no right or wrong, no good or evil; there would be no purpose or significance, and our deaths would be an end of nothingness, to nothingness.

While I may prefer to see that old horse running free in a field of tall grass and wild flowers, with its head held high, and its mane flying like a beautiful flag, I have to accept that there is a purpose in its trudging along on a hot city street. Just as there is for me.

I would like to thank that old pony, for the inspiration it has given me, and the self-examination of my own purpose. The next time I find myself in that area, I will make it a point to take along an apple, to at least let it know I admire and respect it as one of God’s creatures.

Where is the teleprompter when you need it?

President Obama doesn’t have his trusty teleprompter during this joint presser with Nicolas Sarkozy.

I’m sure the Norcoms are just shaking in their boots.

h/t hotairpundit

Good news from Lebanon

Hizballah loses.

‘Nuff said.


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