It’s been said that when the student is ready, the teacher appears.
When I was in high school, my ninth stepmother owned two Arabian horses. I knew nothing about horses, but when she became bedridden with illness, I decided to venture out to “meet” the horses. They had been placed in a barn where basic needs were taken care of, but I knew they needed more. That is when the tomboy in me took a stand. Time to be a real Mississippi cow girl.
Like most teens I was pretty sure I knew it all. How hard could taking care of horses be? Daily I went out to this barn and acted like I knew what I was doing. I cleaned the stalls, fed the horses, and watched what everyone else was doing. I even wore boots. Above all, I avoided the trainer, Mr. Elmo. He was mean, old, scary and gruff. That angry look on his face made me tremble when I walked by him.
Day after day, I did nothing right. There were many experienced riders in the barn and I’m pretty sure they were quietly afraid I was going to kill myself. Me? I refused to ask anyone anything. Such was the predictable cycle for weeks. My pride and ignorance was obvious to everyone but me.
Finally one sunny day, I decided to take a long trail ride, alone. That meant mounting the saddle, bridling the horse, and a few other points of critical interest. Swallowing my ugly pride, I did the unthinkable. Stepping towards mean old Mr. Elmo, I searched for the right words. “Mr. Elmo, would you please help me?” For the first time our eyes met and he turned to me. “Good God girl, I thought you would never ask!” He smiled. He actually smiled!
Later that day, I took the first of many rides. With my saddle on right, bridled horse, and a pistol in a holster around my waist (no joke) rode off into the woods for a day of absolute splendor. Turned out Mr. Elmo wasn’t so mean after all. For two years that man taught me everything he knew. Later I even competed in rodeo’s and horse shows. The man I once feared became my teacher and respected friend. What I learned most was from his silence, what he didn’t say until I asked.
No matter our age and stage, there is a student in each of us, eager to seek adventure. Pride? It stifles us and holds us hostage, blinding us to opportunities to do exciting new things. Are there Mr. Elmo’s in your life? We are surrounded by people that are gifted teachers just waiting to be asked. When the student is ready, the teacher will appear.
Pride? It can be ugly. Humility? It can change lives and open eyes to things otherwise unseen. Take a look around. You might find Mr. Elmo.
Today’s pick of the day.