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Sarah Lysne: The joy of victory: Finding the strength to be brave

My Grandpa Keenan owned a little brown Shetland pony named Trixie.

One Sunday afternoon when I was about nine years old, I decided to take Trixie for a ride.  As soon as I had the reins in my hands, Trixie raised his front legs off the ground and threw me off.  I was so shocked I started to cry.  After Grandpa and my dad saw that I wasn’t injured, my grandpa told me that I should get back on the horse and try again.  He explained that if I didn’t try again right away, Trixie would know that I was easy to intimidate, and he would continue to throw me off.  My dad didn’t seem too anxious for me to get back on the horse, but he had been around horses long enough to know that my grandpa was right.

At this point the easiest thing to do would have been to go into the house and have grandma dry my tears and give me a big helping of strawberry shortcake with lots of whipped cream.  She would understand why I didn’t want to ever ride Trixie again, but I couldn’t stand to let that horse think it could intimidate me.  I also didn’t like the idea of never being able to ride Trixie again.

I decided to be brave, and grandpa helped me get back on the horse.   As he handed me the reins, Trixie started to shuffle his feet like he was going to throw me off again.  Grandpa scolded Trixie in a stern tone, and he gave me the reins and walked with Trixie and I around the yard for a while.  I knew at that moment that I had been victorious.  I had overcome my fear, and now I had the opportunity to enjoy riding horses on grandpa’s hobby farm. By pushing past my fear just a little bit, I had allowed my dream of riding horses to become a reality.

Over the years, I have met so many brave people who were not afraid to  “get back on the horse” when life presented them with a few challenges.  Many of the people that I have had the privilege to get to know, have struggled with setbacks in their health, and yet they push on day after day.

It is inspiring to be in the presence of people who live life to the fullest despite the difficulties that come their way.  I am grateful to be able to witness the faith of so many of my fellow community and family members, and I applaud each one of you for not giving up when things don’t always go as planned. My prayer is that God continues to give you the strength and courage to “get back on the horse” and continue to enjoy life, despite the changes and challenges that never end, as we continue our journey here on earth.