This isn’t going to be long or incredibly profound, but I just had a rare experience that I thought would be worthy of sharing here.
So this week I am at the 2016 OYAN Winter Workshop – Scribes of the Round Table – and in the mornings, I always get up about 7:30 to make coffee and spend some time alone with God.
Well, this morning, I got up at 7:00, because I awoke with an unexplainable urge to get up. At first I considered ignoring it and getting another much needed half hour of sleep (I was still plenty tired and could have fallen back asleep immediately), but I decided to listen to the strange call to get up anyway. So I showered, put on my shoes, and prepared to go to the main meeting lodge to make some coffee. But when I went outside, I was surprised to find a beautiful brown bareback horse standing in the field opposite me. It was bending over and eating remains of green grass from where the snow had melted.
After taking a few pictures, I walked up to it – slowly at first, but then when I realized it wasn’t going anywhere, I went up right next to it and began to pet it. I did this for just a few moments before the horse turned and began trotting away.
I looked around. Nobody else was in sight, and so I followed it.
I followed the horse past the cafeteria building. Two people (I’m guessing employees of Heartland Center) came out and asked if that was my horse. I assured them it wasn’t, which led them to assume it was a Heartland horse that had escaped. They said they would attempt to call its owners, and I said I would follow it so that it didn’t wander too far or into the street.
And so I did. On and on the horse trotted, and I walked with it, right at its side. Whenever I stopped, the horse kept moving but kind of looked back at me as if to see why I wasn’t keeping up. If I walked ahead, the horse began to walk faster. And so we went on this way for some time, until both the horse and I had walked for quite awhile and to the far end of the campsite.
At this point, my legs and face were quite numb, and my wet hair was beginning to freeze – as I had not been expecting a winter excursion when I went out to make coffee, and so had not dressed accordingly. However, I did not want to leave the horse alone, and at this point I was also quite curious, and so I continued to follow it.
In not too much time at all, we made it to a sign that pointed to “stables” – which the horse followed. I was now quite certain that this was a very clever horse, and that after somehow escaping its stables, it had wandered off in search of someone who could let it back in. And so I followed the horse right to the stables and opened the latch. It whinnied a mighty whinny and trotted in.
On my walk back to the other side of the retreat center, I pondered the happenings of a moment ago. For some reason I had woken up early enough to see the horse in the field. There’s no guarantee that it would have been there if I had slept even a half hour more. And so, with the the theme of this workshop being of the Round Table, I couldn’t help but feel I was destined to meet that clever horse and help him in his quest to return home.
Perhaps this wasn’t a grand, perilous quest – but it was still a quest, and I was content in that. The horse was safe, and I had had an adventure. All was well.
This “quest” also led me to ponder the importance of curiosity, as spoken about my Mark Wilson the previous day in his talk on the knight Percival. I could have said no to my curiosity, and let the horse wander off on its own – but then where would it be? Either still wandering the campsite, or worse, lost in the streets. However, because I surrendered to my childlike curiosity, I was able to follow the horse to the stables and ensure its safety – while also having an adventure of my own.
And thus, I suppose my overall conclusions from this Quest are twofold:
First, adventures – which can happen anytime, when they are least expected, and hardly convenient – should be embarked upon when they are offered, for the same chance of adventure may never be offered ever again. If I wouldn’t have gotten up when prompted, I would never have seen the horse. If I wouldn’t have followed it, I never would have led it home. It’s only because I accepted the adventure disguised as inconvenience (not being able to sleep) and happenstance (a random horse in a field) that I was able to learn from it and also help someone else through it.
And second, innocent childlike curiosity is important and should not be discounted. Our eagerness to discover new things can not only lead us to learn more ourselves, but also lead us into opportunities to help others – like Percival could have restored the Fisher King’s kingdom if he had surrendered to his curiosity about the Holy Grail.
And thus concludes these morning musings from the OYAN Winter Workshop. Now I will see about making that coffee.