Shootin' the Breeze

and random targets

Archive for the month “February, 2017”

Getting Back on the Horse

I confess that I have been bucked off many horses, many times.  I have been bucked off other things as well.

There is a saying that gives me some comfort.  “Ain’t a horse that can’t be rode; ain’t a cowboy can’t be throwed.”

Unless it is a bronc at a rodeo, who bucks for a living, and you are not allowed to get back on, there are two important reasons to get back on after being bucked off.

One reason is very simple.   If you don’t get back on, the horse won and will think that it can get you off whenever it wants.  So, for training purposes, and for the horse’s own good, you want it to learn that it can’t get away with it.  You want it to learn that you are boss; that you are in control.

The second reason to get back on is for your own good, for your self esteem, I guess, to not quit and to not be afraid.

Besides horses, there are other things in life that buck folks off.  (I am not talking about bulls, which are not really intended to be ridden anyway, at least not by me.)

Getting cut from a team is like getting bucked off.  It is  surprising that Michael Jordan was cut from his high school basketball team and inspiring that he did not quit basketball.  Some say that he turned out to be a pretty successful player.  Some say the best ever.

Getting fired, getting divorced, declaring bankruptcy, losing a loved one who dies, and health problems of all sorts are examples of life bucking you off.   When you are laying in the dirt, you often do not feel like standing up, mounting up, and taking another ride.  Those are the times to “cowboy up.”

Sometimes, I suppose we are more like the horses doing the bucking.  You might say that people who are recovering from addictions are trying to get a “monkey” off their backs.  From another perspective, you might say that making choices that lead to addiction could be to escape life’s demands, like you are trying to buck off responsibilities.  Either way, addictions involve bucking too.  Overcoming addiction is like getting back on the horse because it requires re-taking control.

God knows when we get bucked off, whether literally or by being cut from a team, fired from a job, divorced from a spouse or any of the ways we fall and land hard.

God also knows when we are bucking.  Like a good horse trainer, He does not give up on us.  He has ways of letting us know that we are not in control.

The Bible tells us that the hairs of our heads are numbered, that God knows when a sparrow falls from its nest, and that, lo, He is with us always.

Our heavenly Father is always ready to help us get back in the saddle.

From personal experience, most of us realize that “there ain’t a cowboy can’t be throwed.”  If you haven’t been throwed yet, you will be.

It is by faith we see that with God’s help “there ain’t a  horse that can’t be rode.”
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Day at a Time — Day 1

So, today Miss Texas, my personal trainer, suggested that I return to the swimming pool in order to prepare for success at next summer’s Senior Games aka Senior Olympics.

A few years ago, I competed somewhat successfully in six swimming events at the national championships and the World Senior Games.  No brag, just fact.

My training was interrupted due to a number of reasons, including a trip to the hospital for a bum knee and a bicycle accident that injured my right shoulder.

Rather than swim at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Miss Texas and I decided to start our return to competition at the therapy pool at the Fort Collins Senior Center.  Not surprisingly, the pool was full of old people.  Clearly, we did not belong.  Nevertheless, we tried to blend in.

There is something wrong with me besides my knees and shoulder.  My competitive drive is unhealthy.  The old lady next to me did not realize it, but I saw her as a challenge and targeted her by giving her a headstart and then trying to pass her.  She did not realize that she was in a race.  But I did.

Maybe tomorrow she will recognize just who she is dealing with.  Or not.

 

Cowboy Up

In the West, there is an admonition that means one ought to be tough.  The phrase is this:  “Cowboy up!”  It is used to encourage.

For example, if a cowboy is complaining about having to do something difficult, another cowboy would likely say, “Cowboy up.”  It means to face what you need to face.  It means to do what you need to do.  It means the same as another catch phrase, one formerly used in Nike ads, “Just do it.”  I am guessing the derivation might be about getting up on a horse that is likely to buck.  (Mount up and be ready for a ride, i.e., Cowboy up).

You do not have to be a cowboy in order to cowboy up.  A non-cowboy can be tough.  A non-cowboy might figuratively have to endure a rough ride of one kind of another.

For two examples, I will tell you about my Uncle Luke and about my Friend Bill.  They each have faced something more difficult than anything that I have faced  — A.L.S., also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease.    Talk about tough men!

Recently, I spoke separately to two young men who had threatened suicide.  I did not tell them to cowboy up. That is not always therapeutic.  I listened to the hopelessness they felt about life circumstances.   I also encouraged them, or tried to, by telling them about the courage of Uncle Luke and Friend Bill,  facing A.L.S., and how those tough men have inspired me.   I agreed that life can be difficult, but reminded them that life is precious too.  Too precious to throw away.

That realization, that life is precious, is the reason to cowboy up.

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