Rode Hard

     The term carries so many meanings through a man’s days; starting young “riding hard” was the excitement in life. A life first discovered by a young cowboy in diapers, just waddling into the barn and mistakenly touching the brooder with the electrical short! What a sight; puddles, cries and laughter with dozens of Momma’s chicks scattering every which away…

      But love was all around; the young cowboy’s quest was playing, laughing loving; and always mother’s apron just a few short steps away. Life was such a wonderful thing, death a word not even dreamed of. The young dream only of living forever. But as life parades slowly by, gathering speed with each passing year, it begins to change. We begin to make mistakes; but with youth mistakes can be corrected, we can still ride hard. Laughter lies just at the corner of the cowboy’s eye.

     Spring turns to summer, and the youthful cowboy begins to ride even harder with the new found responsibilities in life. Now he must care for his family and friends, he needs to work hard and try to make even less mistakes, but knowing somehow that mistakes are common unto a man and he makes his fair share. War and violence enters into his life for the first time, and Momma’s apron is now thousands of miles away. Each mistake now belongs to him, and his youthful spirit must stand up to the test. Now the riding is truly hard.

      But now the close of summer comes to the cowboy, all the plans, all his work, all his family begins to slip away, all of "Mother’s Flowers" slowly fade. First his parents pass over the canyon’s rim and suddenly Momma’s apron is no longer there. Then his siblings slowly pass beyond the veil and the cowboy finds less and less time to correct mistakes. How many times will God give a man to say “I’m Sorry”? The time moves so fast in the fall of a man’s life, illness, lost love, earthly possessions all fall away so easily, and yet the cowboy struggles to ride on, that bucking pony called life has no remorse.

      The cold winds of winter finally claim the cowboy, his physical stamina is gone, his once alert mind dims, and hope begins to fade. The Grace of God grants one last miracle in the old cowboy's life, and love enters his life once again, but has the cowboy learned anything from his hard riding days? It is so confusing, the cold in his ancient body, it chills his mind and slows his thoughts, he is confused. He knows that in someway he has continued to make mistakes, but the chill of winter has a grip, a fierce grip called depression, disease and serious illness, and he lets his self-pity colour his life. How hard he wants to beg for forgiveness, he wants that very special love that God had held out to him for that brief moment in time…

      But now suddenly the old cowboy realizes that in all these years, because of his stubborn pride and hard temper, he had never once been the rider of life with a firm grip on the reins, yes with eyes now wide open in the late winter of his life, he suddenly realized that life itself had been the rider and had ridden him hard and put him up wet! Now at the close of life, with nothing but loneliness in his soul and tears in his old eyes, maybe it is too late to say “I’m Sorry, Please Forgive Me.” But here in the winter of his life he had to try…

© 2005/2010 ~ David L Griffith

You have been listening to the beautiful music of Jim Brickman and his song "Crossroads". I selected this tune because so many times in life we find ourselves at a crossroad, and as age marches swiftly towards it's appointed end it becomes so important to say the words "I Love You" and "I'm Sorry" in the same sentence...

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     The Cowboy's Final Ride


"There is no cure for birth and death save to enjoy the interval."

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