Friday, November 4, 2011

A Light Hand

The theme, Traveling Lighter, has more applications than I anticipated. Not that I stick to this theme all the time, but I do try to tie it in with whatever random thoughts are floating around in my head.

This week, I discovered a new, fresh application. You are driving a horse and buggy down a country road. The reins sit loosely in your hand, wrapped across your palm and up between your thumb and fingers. The horse has her ears forward, enjoying the trot; flicking her ears back toward you to check on changes in the reins as you direct her, lightly. A light hand with the reins makes for a pleasant ride, for you and the horse.

Our son had two draft horses, Percherons, when we lived in Colorado, with a buggy, the harnesses, bridles, collars, reins and tack. The horses, Candy and Jeannie, loved to go out on the road, pulling a buggy load of children behind them. They were a well trained team, easy to drive, and lots of fun for the kids. Guided with a light hand, they toured the dirt roads where there was very little traffic.

A light hand applies to sitting in the saddle, too. Holding the reins with a light hand, guiding, not gripping.

It is similar, I think, to raising our children, guiding them, directing them, but with a light hand. Not with harsh demands or forcing, but finding the point of cooperation, of willingness. Assuring them that you are there, helping with the turns and the direction, avoiding danger, showing them the path to take.

Also, with the events of life, with the circumstances we find in our days. Do we hold them loosely, with an open hand, or do we clench our fist tightly, demanding to hold on, with a closed fist. Am I open to change, or am I demanding "my way," "my direction." Are my hands open, lifted willingly to work and pray and hope and love and help, or are my arms folded tightly, drawn in close and closed? The horses loved bread. I would take slices out to them, hold them in my open hand, and they would carefully lip the slices off my palm. They were massive (a little bit scary to me), but they would gently take the treat from my hand.

What are some of the things I want to control? (just a partial list...)

  • Time. Where did this past week go?
  • My husband. Fat chance that is going to happen. (I say this with a smile)
  • Our children. They are far too intelligent and creative to be limited by my efforts to channel them.
  • Clutter. It grows, seems to have a mind of its own.
  • Circumstances. The only constant is change.
  • My curly hair. I try to wear it down, but always end up pulling back the unruliness.
  • Plans, Goals, Dreams. I plan, I set goals, I dream; but then adjust, shift gears.

As I think of the reins of life, held lightly in my hands, the soft leather brushing across my palms, the fresh air messing up my hair as the buggy travels down the road, the motion as the horse pulls, it helps me relax, enjoy the trip, and trust as I travel lightly along this path of my life.


  1. Your metaphor is enlightening. It helps me understand more about "giving place" - an old term. Your practical list is helpful, too. (I'm typing this with my hair in pink curlers as I attempt to get it under control. We are expecting company this evening. Therefore, I chuckled when you mentioned your naturally curly hair).
    On a more serious topic, recently I had a conversation with one of my married daughters about husbands - persons that resist control - and rightfully so.
    Karen A.

  2. Your post gave me the spin-off idea of traveling with a light hand, remembering our horses and the buggy. There are so many areas of life we want to control, to force things our way. Giving place is a good term, yielding.

  3. I've been impressed with Miss Mason's metaphor and idea for a long time. Like a tiny seed, once sown on good ground, an idea sprouts and grows. You developed it beautifully.
    Karen A.