“Before long the world will not see me anymore, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live. On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me and I am in you.” John 14:19-21
It may seem strange to hear that I found the Spirit of Christ in a horse, yet that very sensation is one I report. A few days ago I set out to visit a stunning steel grey colt that I had passed in a field while on my bike. His coat was the most unusual color. I was enchanted by the sight of its mysterious and rare grey tones. It was like a little thundercloud set against the bright green of the field.
On the day I walked up the hill to see him though it was his companion who ventured near me. She is a formidable work horse who still looks a bit lanky – clumsy in her adolescence- even as the signs of her potential as a beast of burden become more apparent. Maybe it is because she knows intuitively that her future will be one of hard work that she felt the need to draw near to me. I know that that is when I find myself drawing near to kindness; when I need encouragement, to feel the presence of the Spirit as I grow into my next phase of being.
By drawing near to me she gave me a great feeling of confidence. I have always yearned to be the kind of person a horse draws near to. Over the decades of my efforts to learn about how to be with horses I was always the one they shied away from. I would watch as other people, more versed in being present with sentient creatures enjoyed the mutual grooming that a trusting horse will engage in with a human. “You rub my back, I’ll rub yours” is truly what can happen if the relationship is right.
She has been given the name Vespa which doesn’t suit her. I’m sure she doesn’t really care. She is beyond a name, just like the Spirit I discovered residing within her as we spent time together.
The other horse, less and less appealing as he stayed aloof, drew somewhat closer but he was not yet brave enough to be within striking distance. Vespa on the other hand reached out to nuzzle me- to return the caresses I offered her. And they were actually practical responses to her need. She made it very clear that she needed certain places to be tended to. It felt so good to be of service to her. It was astonishing when she reciprocated- though I was also alert and prudent about the possibility that her “friendly grooming” might become painful for me if she sunk her teeth into my skin. So aware and mindful I spent as much time as I could being in the moment with her. We were silent- as soon as I realized that my speech was not necessary, I left off my sweet comments and just remained present with her.
Then she stopped and looked at me for a long time with her huge dark eye. “Who are you?” I asked. For I felt a very powerful communication. I knew it was up to me to let the Spirit put the answer into my heart.
As I returned home, my mind was flooded with all of the people who have extended me that same unconditional kindness over the years. Remembering each person I felt they were there with me again. Yet I still wasn’t satisfied that I had uncovered who- exactly- Vespa was for me.
I left off thinking too much and turned my eyes to the splendour of the land around me. Soon I felt the answer arriving in my consciousness.
The horse I lived with in Nova Scotia had returned – the feeling of connection and kindness I had shared with him was reiterated. Ah Raj, I thought, I miss you, though I now know you are ever with me and in me.
And so it is with God , the Spirit I believe, if I will only take the time to recognize that Spirit. To welcome it in the times I am offered to share with other sentient beings; Every creature who is yet another element of this whole that we ever seek to complete by our communions.