I have to say how wonderful it is to apply fingers to keyboard on a desktop.
I really just had to say that first.
Last week I spent experiencing an entirely new thing for me - senior high school church camp. Believe it or not, I have never been to church camp as camper or counselor. As an older and wiser counselor told me afterwards, I had the "deer-in-the-headlights" look for the first two days and after that I bravely told the girls, "come on, cry on me." Basically, that's how it went.
Lots of crying; so many emotions and burdens unloaded in one week.
For them and for me.
I woke up Thursday morning, our last full day together, with the phrase "join-up" on my mind.
Some of you are in the dark, I know.
"What does it mean?"
Without further ado, I'll tell you.
Essentially, it's the process of gaining trust and submission from a horse by its owner or trainer.
My brother, Daniel, is an excellent horse trainer who's responsible for much of the breaking and training of colts on our ranch.
He brings a young horse (usually about two years old) into the roundpen and releases them - some have a halter on but most of the time, they have nothing.
Horses, by nature, are fight or flight animals and this young beast is charged with fear in this unknown environment. She starts running.
Running from what? The human in the middle of the circle.
Running where? She doesn't know. Just running.
Daniel stands in the middle, sometimes with a whip or rope that he waves in the air periodically but most of the time, he just stands there, his presence enough to drive her on and on.
Around and around.
Minutes pass and when the filly starts breathing heavily, Daniel utters a quiet command and stops moving.
The filly slows.
This is the pivotal moment - it's time for her to choose.
Generally, in the beginning, the filly will slow down and turn around into the roundpen panels, which means that her butt is pointed to Daniel.
Daniel forces her to start running again.
Another choice is to hear the "whoa" but keep running and bucking. The flight mode kicks in strong again and the filly runs...running from fear, running with instinct.
Daniel will let her run for a few more minutes and then try again.
This is the appropriate response:
The filly stops, nostrils blowing, foamy sweat lathering her chest, and faces Daniel, head slightly down.
This is their moment.
With an outstretched hand, Daniel approaches the filly. If at any time, her racing heart is overtaken by fear and she snaps her head up and turns away from him, Daniel backs up and makes her run again. She's not ready to trust.
But sometimes, on the first try, she is ready.
Daniel approaches her on her left side, starts rubbing her neck, her face. Armed with nothing but his command for submission, Daniel turns away from the filly and starts walking back to the middle of the circular roundpen.
She follows him, her head sometimes nearly touching the ground but most often resting near his elbow.
He stops. She stops. He moves to the right, she moves to the right. He walks in a straight line, so does she.
Except for the fact that he's human and she's filly, you can't tell where one ends and the other begins. - their movements are in sync.
As soon as this act of surrender occurs, the lesson for the day is over - no matter if it took ten minutes or three hours.
That's all he was after.
It's a moment when 1,200 pounds of flesh decides to take a risk and override every instinct to run by trusting this 175-pound human being.
It's the moment when I have ran enough and finally surrender to the Creator.
It's a moment that every other lesson from now on will come back to - do you trust me?
It's the moment that I answer "yes, no matter where you take me or what you do, I will trust you."
It's a moment that returns beast to the human master.
It's the moment I am once again Christ's and he is mine.
It's a lesson for the day.
It's the lesson for my life.