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  • Elaine Sanders

The Perfect Relationship

I used to believe that I only wanted horses to ride and play with. And then I realized that I wanted horses so that I could connect with them. And in more recent years, I discovered that I was drawn to horses so that I could better connect with myself and with God.

I'd like to share with you an article I wrote for another source. It's a clear example of what I'm talking about. I encourage you this week to open your heart to your horses, learning what you can about them, about others, about yourself, and about God (or Creator, Source, Universe, or whichever name you personally resonate with for the Divine). You'll be surprised just how deep and how high your horses will lead you if you let them. Enjoy.

The Perfect Relationship

For as long as I remember, I have loved horses. If I wasn’t pretending to be one, I was drawing them, painting them, or sculpting them out of clay. And all day long I was imagining them.

Every prayer, every birthday candle, every falling star included a horse of my very own - and a fence (because I was a very practical child).

Why did I want a horse so badly? I have no idea. Like many horse people, I was born this way.

Now that I have 4 horses of my own, I’ll be the first to say, they’re not easy. They’re a ton of work. They don’t always do what I want. They don’t always understand what I’m asking of them. They don’t always know that I’m trying to help them. They don’t realize that I want the best for them.

They have minds of their own. They have unique personalities, likes, and dislikes. They have moods, opinions, and emotions.

Sometimes I just want things to go perfectly - a ride where my horse listens perfectly to every cue as if she can read my mind, a ride where she is perfectly confident, a ride where she is perfectly obedient, a ride where she is a perfect horse.

Sometimes we get rides like this. And it’s ahh-mazing.

But usually, we have to work at it. There’s a spook. There’s a lack of confidence. There’s a misunderstanding.

It’s not perfect.

But I don’t want perfect. If I wanted perfect, I wouldn’t have dreamed of a horse. I would have dreamed of a 4-wheeler.

But I can’t form a relationship with a 4-wheeler.

Every spook, every hesitation, every misunderstanding is an opportunity for me to show my horse just how present I am with her. An opportunity for her to look to me and feel closer and more connected to me.

So while every spook, hesitation, and misunderstanding ruins the “perfection” of the ride, it only adds to the perfection of the relationship. And that’s perfect to me.

Consider how you interact with your horse. Are you striving to meet some sort of expectation? Are you disappointed or frustrated when your horse spooks, hesitates, or misunderstands you?

Now let’s zoom out a bit, shall we? In what other relationships do you have expectations?

How about what expectations do you have on yourself? Who is holding you to those expectations?

Now you might be wondering, why am I going here? Why are we going deeper?

Because somewhere along the way, you decided that you were supposed to be perfect, with the perfect life. You thought that every mistake was a blemish and a terrible thing. You became so focused on perfection that you forgot relationship. If you’ll allow me, I’d like to suggest a different way. The way my horses showed me.

I’d like to re-write the first part of this article for you, but I’d like to write it as if it is a letter from God to you…

For as long as I (God) remember, I have loved you. If I wasn’t walking on the earth as one of you, I was drawing you, painting you, or sculpting you out of clay. And all day long I was lovingly creating you.

I created a people of my very own - and a beautiful world for you to live in.

Why do I want you so badly? I have no idea. I Am this way.

Now that I have you, I’ll be the first to say, you’re not easy. You’re a ton of work. You don’t always do what I want. You don’t always understand what I’m asking you. You don’t always know that I’m trying to help you. You don’t realize that I want the best for you.

You have a mind of your own. You have a unique personality, likes, and dislikes. You have moods, opinions, and emotions.

Sometimes I just want things to go perfectly - a moment where you listen perfectly to every cue as if you can read my mind, a moment where you are perfectly confident, a moment where you are perfectly obedient, a moment where you are perfect.

Sometimes you and I get moments like this. And it’s ahh-mazing.

But usually, we have to work at it. There’s a failure. There’s a lack of confidence. There’s a misunderstanding.

It’s not perfect.

But I don’t want perfect. If I wanted perfect, I wouldn’t have created you. I would have created a robot.

But I can’t form a relationship with a robot.

Every failure, every hesitation, every misunderstanding is an opportunity for me to show you just how present I am with you. An opportunity for you to look to me and feel closer and more connected to me.

So while every failure, hesitation, and misunderstanding ruins the “perfection” of the moment, it only adds to the perfection of our relationship. And that’s perfect to me.

Our idea of God can make us or it can break us. It trickles down and affects every single other relationship we have with ourselves, with others, and with our horses.

If you see God as a tyrant who expects perfection from you, then why on earth wouldn’t you have been forced to be perfect from birth? Surely it wasn’t a divine oversight.

If you see God as a loving God who doesn’t expect you to be perfect, then why are you expecting perfection from yourself? Who gave you the right to have higher standards for yourself than even God has for you?

If you see God as valuing relationship first and foremost, above performance, above perfection, and above rules, now how would you respond to the invitation to join the relationship? Couldn’t every mishap and every mistake be an opportunity to reconnect at ever deeper levels? The choice is yours. That’s what relationship is about after all.

Here’s to You and Your Horse,

Elaine

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