Last winter, my wife of 45 years and I departed for an 8-week western trip, staying the majority of time in the Scottsdale/ Phoenix area. Because this trip was a bit longer than our usual stay, we decided to take two of our horses. This adventure taught me a great deal about traveling long distances with horses. For starters, I didn’t know that there were such things as “horse motels” — places to stay with a room for you and a “room” (stable would probably be a better word) for your horses. Scattered all over this amazing country of ours are delightful people ready to serve your every need of traveling with your horses.
I have been blessed with a wonderful marriage, but my wife and I don’t share all of the same interests. Two of the areas where she doesn’t venture are hunting and riding horses. Therefore, she is rarely with me when I travel pulling a dog or horse trailer. A horse trailer with a couple of 1000 pound-plus horses is a serious pull for even a big SUV. So, as we ventured out on our trip, she commented how she could feel the trailer behind us. Those of you who have pulled heavy trailers know exactly what I am talking about. She actually felt a bit uncomfortable. But as the miles flew by, and we got closer to our first night’s destination, Tulsa, Oklahoma, she commented how she couldn’t feel the trailer anymore. She was rather amazed how smooth the ride was as we pulled into our Tulsa horse motel.
We unloaded our horses, unhitched the trailer, finished our conversation with our delightful horse motel owners, and headed out to explore Tulsa for dinner. Upon leaving our hosts drive, Deanna and I both mentioned at the same time that, without the loaded horse trailer, our trusty SUV felt more like our 2003 Corvette than the husky vehicle that pulled that trailer to Tulsa. It was amazing how light and fast our Sequoia felt.
So the metaphor is this: We all, in one way or another, have trailers that we are pulling. Our heavy, weighted down trailers felt uncomfortable when we first started pulling them, but as time passed we got so used to the load, we forgot how good we could feel if we simply unhooked these burdens from our lives. We forget that unhooking them is even an option, and adjust everything we do to accommodate hauling them around.
We fill our trailers with numerous loads: guilt, anger, greed, jealousy, fear… I could go on and on. The point is we have habits and rituals that pull us in so many of the wrong directions, and because we have been pulling them so long, we have actually gotten comfortable with them being part of our load. We have forgotten the amazing feeling of freeing ourselves from these burdens we are pulling (unhooking our trailers).
My challenge to you is to periodically go back to your trailer and open the doors. See what you are pulling. Then, get to your trailer hitch, and UNHOOK it! The freedom and joy you will feel will be breathtaking.
What burdens are you hauling around? Wouldn’t you like to let them go?