You can lead a horse to the water, but you can’t make him drink. I can drag Goldi into a new adventure but I can’t make her excited about it. The first realization of this came when a friend invited us over for a horse ride. I read and heard that horses were therapeutic for kids like Goldi, so I readily agreed. It was going to be a sunny day. Goldi would sit tall on a beautiful shiny brown horse. They would glide across the open field. She would feel the wind caress her face and the warmth of the sun would make her hair glow. Little did she know, it would be a wonderful new experience.
When we met Dusty or Chestnut or China or …I’m sure of the horse’s name. If it were my horse, I would have named it Patience or Grace. For Goldi immediately protested at the sight of it.
“No, No! ” she shrieked as though I was about to make her pet a crocodile.
“I want to go home!” she screamed as she clawed my leg.
“I can’t do that!” she yelled.
“I will hold you. We can do this together.” I told her. “It is such a nice horse. See, look we can pet her. She is so soft.” I said.
I tried to say things to put her at ease. I tried to say it in a way that those beautiful gals on “Price is Right” would say with their hands when presenting a can of tuna. I tried to say it in a way to bring about some hopes for enjoyment and gladness that we went on this adventure even though we were deep in the unknown. My image of pleasantries was soon interrupted as quickly as an arm on the record player screetching the music to a hault. It is one of those noises I hear often in those “Not Knowing but still Going Moments.”
There have been many moments with Goldi like that. Moments of new experiences that we know and believe she will enjoy, but they come with protest. Moments of pure work for a simple pleasure. Moments of necessity to help her learn and grow and adapt to this world. She does not know what to expect and we go anyway. She does not like the sound of a pep talk to do something outside her realm of familiar. But forward we go.
I held her on that horse as we were led by her owner across an open grassy field. It was indeed warm and sunny, – a perfect summer day. Screams and shrieks surrounded me. My “It’s okays” were drowned out completely. If you could read a speech bubble above that dear horse, it would say “Do I get an extra carrot for this ride?”
Goldi didn’t know what a horse ride was all about. But I made her go anyway. When that horse received his “Whoa” command, (probably thinking to himself “Woes me” ) that hault put an end to the unknown. Goldi had ridden a horse and now she knew. She knew the smooth glide. She knew the soft silky feel of its back. She knew the view of the world from atop a horse. Well, at least a little bit- if her face wasn’t buried into my shoulders she might have seen more of it. She knew that it was a gentle, calm, journey across a wide open field. Slowly and surely she began to know.
“I rode a horse!” she told the owners as soon as she dismounted. “I did. I rode a horse!” she says again with a smile and a twinkle in her eye. She tells her dad at dinner, her grandparents, and even friends.
Looking back, I am glad we went. Maybe Goldi was glad too. And if “Grace” was that horse’s middle name, the horse was glad too.
Those “Not knowing but still Going moments” will be frequent with Goldi. But that is what life is all about.
Even though we know little about the journey and life ahead, we will still go forward. And in going forward, we take what we do know with us. And there is one thing we do know that we always take with us. It is our Guide. The One that knows all. And that is all that matters. With that- not knowing and going anyway will always be worth it.