Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Flexibility and Balance

Over 30 years ago, when I met and fell in love with my future husband, we talked about a lot of things. We could talk for hours on end. We talked about ourselves, each other, our plans for the future and how many kids we would like to have. We talked about his call into the ministry. I was good with that as I had always felt called to be a minister's wife. I envisioned ourselves living in an attractive parsonage located in the suburbs of a big city.

But I don't ever remember talking about my husbands love of all things horse.

In fact, I can tell you that I had no idea at all that my husband was a "closet cowboy". I never guessed that he dreamed of someday having his own horse. I had no idea that he would love to get into breaking and training horses. For Pete's sake, I didn't even know he would like to have a pair of cowboy boots! I don't know why that never came up. But it didn't.

In the first years of our marriage we lived in cities. My husband was still in school when we got married and we lived in a dormitory where we were the Resident Director's. No room for a horse there.

We then moved to Kansas City to attend seminary. I loved living in the city. I worked right in the middle of the downtown area - and it was wonderful. For me. My poor husband nearly had a nervous breakdown trying to live and drive and survive in such a large city. He looked forward to the day when his first church would most certainly land us in a small, rural community.

It didn't happen. Our first church with attached parsonage, was smack in the middle of metropolitan Provo, Utah. Lots of people wouldn't think of Provo as a large city but it may as well have been New York City as far as my husband was concerned. We lived right off the interstate on a very busy street. Our apartment was attached to the church. There was ZERO privacy.

Three very long years later God finally planted us in a very rural, very unpopulated, very cowboy area. My husband thought he had died and gone to heaven. It took him all of about 3 months to acquire a horse. We have lived cowboy ever since!

I discovered that I can live most anywhere and be content. (However, I do need to be close enough to population that I can drive there in a reasonable amount of time.) I have learned to love and even crave the solitude that living in the country brings. I would miss it if I had to move away from it. But what I love the most is seeing how happy my husband is. He loves working with his horses. Many people in our church have working ranches where he gets involved with brandings and cattle drives and all sorts of western things. This last weekend we drove to the Oregon coast to watch a friend from our church compete in a Wild Mustang Challenge. The BLM gave him a mustang and he had 90 days to break it. All the competitors met in a large arena to show what their horses could do. There were also famous horse trainers there and we sat in on some of those sessions too. I really enjoyed myself. Of course I brought my knitting along so I could accomplish something too. My word, I think even I could break a horse now!

I guess I just say all of this to say that even though we don't know where life will lead us, there is much to enjoy along the way. If someone had told me that I would attend horse seminars and actually enjoy myself, I would have laughed in their face. I had no interest in horses or many outdoor activities. But it is what my husband loves. And because I love him - I enjoy watching him enjoy himself. He is a very busy pastor who needs a physical outlet to balance his very mentally straining occupation. I'm so thankful God has provided for him by where we live and who we live among.

I learned early that my husband would never survive in a city. He needs the outdoors. I surprised myself by learning that I can be happy living in a rural desert. My hobbies and activities can be done anywhere.

So last weekend as I was happily knitting away and at the same time learning from famed horse trainer, Craig Cameron, how teaching and requiring flexibility and balance in a horse is the secret to breaking it - I realized that maybe breaking horses and surviving a marriage aren't all that different. Flexibility and balance are the secrets to successful results both in horses and in people.

On our way home we passed through a town that has a fabulous quilting/yarn shop. My husband was more than willing to stop so I could spend as much time as I wanted browsing and enjoying myself. He shopped with me and even though I know he has absolutely NO interest in fabric or yarn or patterns, he asked questions and showed genuine interest in what thrills me. He even stood in line at the counter getting my fabric cut for me so I could check out the yarn shop. We had a great time.

I'm pretty sure there will be more horse events in my future.

I'm also sure there will be more quilt shops.

Life is good.


Karen said...

It's true that no matter where life takes you, the most important thing is who you have beside you. Your life together sounds wonderful.

M&M_Mama said...

What a nice post, Robin. It spoke to my heart. I have to say, I am so thankful for you and your husband. I watch your marriage and realize it is okay to have completely different interests and still have a great marriage. I feel bad for Matt sometimes because he didn't marry someone who would ride horses with him EVERYDAY. Yet we still love each other and we are learning to balance the different interest thing. It's hard sometimes, we both need to "give" more. Your post is a reminder of that to me. I am also extremely thankful that Pastor Chuck was a "closet cowboy" all those years. When Matt met him, he made the comment that Chuck was one of the first Christians he met that he could actually relate to. He felt that he never had anything in common with Christians. So I know without a doubt that God used your cowboy to save my cowboy. Praise Him!

I'm glad you had a good time at the Mustang Challenge. I was so thankful you guys were there. And thanks for praying for me, too. I was ready to break from stress and was venting it all to Matt when you showed up. I knew you guys had prayed for me because I just felt this huge weight off my back and I just kept pressing on and got all my jobs done. Thanks! The whole time you were there I was thinking, "Poor Robin!" But after reading your post it sounds like you had a really good time. Thanks for going. It meant a lot to Matt (and me, too!). Wow! I'm wordy today! Sorry. Thanks for speaking to my heart today.

Anonymous said...

That is sweet. I can totally see both of you doing this. :) I think its a great example of what the secret to a great marriage is.


Willow said...

Fortunately The Professor and I both love coffee shops and book stores. And he's very good about clothes shopping for me because I hate it. The give and take you describe is what makes a really good marriage.

Becky said...

Wise comparisons, Robin. And a very good time together it seems. Gotta love a man who will stand in line at the fabric store. I remember when we used to travel to and from IL/FL all the time when our kids were young. Driving ... we'd always stop in Paducah and the Butler would patiently entertain the kids while I did the big Hancock's. Good men.

Dawn said...

Weird - I did a comment awhile ago and came back to add something when I discovered mine is not here. Dontcha love it??

I didn't know you had a horse in your family - but I do remember that you were making something cowboy-ish for Chuck not long ago when we voted on what it should be. Did you finish it?

I have heard about the flooding and the blizzard up there in ND. What a strange mess! Kristen's former MIL is up there and can never get down here or back without stopping somewhere for a night or two.

Great post, dear friend.

Dawn said...

Me again - I remember the other thing I said before - flexibility is my word for the year and it's getting a good workout!

Glenda said...

Love your post. And the gentle reminder that love is not a rigid, selfish thing, but grows best in a giving, flexible relationship. I've even learned to "like" bluegrass music . . . well, some of it!

Laura said...

Hi Robin,
I can't recall if I've posted before but have been reading your blog for awhile now. I loved this post, it was just so simply stated, giving and taking and learning to be content anywhere. Well done and what a good example!
(And I was an RD for four years too but single - loved it! Except for the no privacy thing!)

Day by Day said...

Hilarious and so sweet. Thanks for sharing. Found your blog through Suzy K.