It’s hard to believe that the clouds contain this much water…that it can rain so heavily for so many hours straight. There are few things in life better than waking up on a Sunday to the loud patter of rain against your window…a dark day that begs you to sleep for another hour, pick up that novel you’ve been wanting to get to, or watch that Bravo marathon on your DVR.
Today I did not have that luxury, for I was due for a riding lesson, my first one in a year, followed by six hours of volunteering with the therapeutic riding program. Yes, I moaned and groaned a bit as I stood out in the rain waiting for the bus, wishing I had on my pajamas (the ones with the cows jumping over moons), coffee brewing on the countertop, and Girl With a Dragon Tattoo in my lap.
But as I swung my leg over the saddle, I felt more comfortable than if I wore those pajamas, sitting on my couch, curled up with a book, watching the Real Housewives of New Jersey. I was in my element. After a sweaty, achy lesson, I was given free rein (no pun intended) to take care of Lance and we headed out to graze after his bath. There was no one outside, and we were at peace. We chatted for a bit (ok, I chatted, I like to think he listened), and I told him some of my troubles. At one point, I put my head on his neck and started softly crying. Not because I was sad, but because I was grateful. I haven’t cried because I was happy for…well, I can’t remember. I felt a sense of peace wash over me, and it began to lightly rain. I said a prayer of thanks…for Lance, for my health allowing me to have a great lesson after a year of not riding, for my friend Lisa who brought me back to this equestrian world, and for the autistic kids and their parents who show up on our Sunday with smiles on their faces despite having more to deal with than I will ever comprehend. When I reminded myself that the purpose of grazing Lance was to get him dry, I took him out of the rain and brought him back to his stall, wiping my face with embarrassment as I passed his owner. She asked me what was wrong, and I said “Oh, Lance is just a good guy, we had a good talk.” She nodded and said, “Those strong silent types are few and far between. He’ll take good care of you.”
My moment of gratitude outside reminded me of a film I saw, A Single Man with Colin Firth. His closing dialogue (no spoiler alert here) was :
“A few times in my life I’ve had moments of absolute clarity, when for a few brief seconds the silence drowns out the noise and I can feel rather than think, and things seem so sharp and the world seems so fresh. I can never make these moments last. I cling to them, but like everything, they fade. I have lived my life on these moments. They pull me back to the present, and I realize that everything is exactly the way it was meant to be.’
There’s not a phrase I hate more than “everything happens for a reason.” Things do not happen for a reason. Tell that to a mom whose child dies in a car accident, or who is diagnosed with bone cancer, or who is born with autism and struggles with daily activities we all take for granted. People deal with a lot of pain, a lot of loss. But what unites all of us are those brief moments of clarity in a world gone awry…the ones that allow us gratitude during a tough time, the ones that remind us of the good that surrounds us, the ones that allow us to simply inhale the rain.
It’s hard to believe that the clouds hold this much water…that our eyes hold this many tears…that these parents have this much love for their children…that these kids have as little fear as they do. It’s hard to believe that the peace that I’ve been begging for can be found in a brief moment, crying into a horse’s neck, while the rain poured down.