I hesitated before I titled this blog but it just stuck in my mind so I decided to go with it 🙂
It’s a lovely Saturday morning here in Cambodia. There’s a cool breeze which has been lovely. The cooler weather starts at the end of November and lasts until about mid-to-end of February.
As I mentioned in my last blog post, I’ve had a bit of writer’s block. There’s no shortage of things to say and perhaps, maybe, that is why I’ve struggled to put things into words the last couple of months.
I wanted to share a little story with you though. I don’t know if it will be as profound to you as it was to me; one’s own revelations seldom are, but I will try anyway and hope that the essence of it will speak loud enough.
I have always loved horses. I grew up in a horse family. My siblings and I spent our childhood on horseback, gallivanting all over the countryside. It was bliss. It was freedom. It was hard work. Horses were not a luxury for us; they were a lifestyle. We mucked stalls and hauled water buckets and tended injuries. I thought I would always be a horse person. It was in my blood. I thought I would carry on in the family business and ride and teach for a living. I actually couldn’t imagine any other life.
I won’t bore you with all the details of how that did not come to pass. It was very difficult at times but somehow I came out the other side satisfied and fulfilled and not regretting anything. Save for one thing.
Our move across the world meant that my children would not have those hazy, summer days on horseback; slogging around the farm, learning the value of the outdoors, of caring for an animal, of hard work. It was all those things from my childhood I remembered so fondly. The smell of horse in your hair, pieces of hay stuck in your clothes, bone tired from working outdoors all day. It burned in my chest a little but I knew the sacrifice and I knew where God was calling us.
We spent our first year in Cambodia without ever seeing or touching a horse. Oh there was lots to discover and a new life to carve so the absence wasn’t really noticed. That life was no more. Or so I thought.
Two weeks ago we met a French/Khmer man who is the landlord of a house that we are looking to rent. He wanted to meet our family so invited us to a BBQ at his house which is about 5 minutes away from both the house we currently live in and the house we are hoping to move to.
While there, he asked us to take a walk around the grounds. He owns several parcels of land that are all connected. As we are walking, we notice that there is horse manure on the ground. Surprised, we asked him about it and lo and behold, he has two horses and a little barn out back in one of the adjoining properties. You can imagine the horse talk that went on for a while after that as my sister Scarlett, who runs the family horse business back home, was also with us.
Our new friend admitted that he enjoys horses but doesn’t really know much about them. He also went on to say that he wants someone with knowledge to come out and teach some of the kids in his neighbourhood about horses and how to ride. Mr. V, I will call him, has a big heart and a big love for his country. Some of the kids in his neighbourhood, too poor to continue to go to school, need something to occupy their time and give them some purpose. Already, Mr. V has put aside some land and cleared a volleyball court and riding area for the kids to use.
So guess who is now teaching riding lessons twice a week?!
I really wanted to add a huge line of exclamations to that last sentence!
First, I want to point out how unusual it is to find riding horses ANYWHERE in Cambodia (save for a few ranches spread far & wide around the country that do horseback riding for tourists).
Second, most horses are in the provinces. Not a 5 minute drive from the edge of town.
And lastly…..isn’t our God so good? I hope it doesn’t seem too trivial from the outside. This was a desire that I had; that my kids would be able to have all the benefits of being around the farm and around horses, and I had resigned myself to the fact that that was something that we were leaving behind. Seriously. Blown. Away.
And the best thing about it is that even in this small, seemingly unimportant thing…God will be glorified. This is an amazing opportunity to build relationships in this community.
It drove home to me again that our Father, the creator of the Universe, the One who put the stars in place….He cares about the small things. He sees our hearts. He knows our desires. And He cares. It’s such a little thing; probably even a little baffling to others and not even something I would outwardly talk about but my God….He cared.
Oh, and Mr. V said we could come out any time to ride 😉