We often hide from connecting with God because we know we cannot remain hidden in our interactions with the One who designed us and already know us better than we know ourselves. In our spirit, that innermost recess where our true self resides, where our vulnerability and tenderness and weak places are revealed, we cannot continue the pretense we may play out for the world, where we try to project a public persona that will meet with approval and praise, where we seek to conform and please and submit or conquer, where our deepest desire is to be fully known and fully accepted, and our greatest fear is that this could never be. If someone truly saw our broken bits, the parts of ourselves that we scorn and shame and fear, they would never embrace (much less accept) us, but would instead turn away in disgust. Being in the presence of our Higher Power, is to be utterly naked and stripped bare of the layers we posture and hide behind, to be revealed for who we actually are. If we are willing to approach the throne of Grace, trembling and afraid, we will find that we are not only acceptable, but we are adored, cherished, loved and celebrated.
In a similar fashion to our Creator, horses bring out our true selves. Horses do not know how to pretend, and are not self-conscious. They do not worry that they might be the wrong color, or too fat or thin, or that they are not clever enough. Horses show up exactly as they are in each moment, pulling us into their present moment experience with honesty and grace. They are not ashamed to be afraid, or to express contentment or pleasure. In the presence of a horse, we often find ourselves releasing the breath we did not even realize we were holding in, as our being is enfolded and held in the gaze of one who has reason to fear us, yet accepts us into his space with respect and dignity.
Job 39:19 asks, “Do you give the horse his strength, or clothe his neck with a flowing mane?” God does this, and yet the horse consents to gentle this strength to bear with the frailty of humans, and to befriend us in our clumsy attempts to understand and know and relate to them as the patient and forbearing souls that they are. While they are not “mirrors to our soul” as many have said, being sentient beings with their own personalities and feelings, rather than merely reflections of ours, they certainly can help guide us into deeper communion with our own spirit as we explore what it means to connect with ourselves, each other, and our God.