More Than Just a Horse

I have been  reading a book by Rob Bell called “Sex God” and want to share a clip from what I read. It is a recount from Colonel Gonin’s stay at the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp:

“It was shortly after the British Red Cross arrived, though it may have no connection, that a very large quantity of lipstick arrived. This was not at all what we wanted, we were screaming for hundreds, and thousands of other things and I don’t know who asked for lipstick. I wish so much that I could discover who did it, it was the action of genius, sheer unadulterated brilliance. I believe nothing did more for these internees than the lipstick. Women lay in bed with no sheets and no nightie but with scarlet red lips, you saw them wandering about with nothing but a blanket over their shoulders, but with scarlet red lips. I saw a woman dead on the postmortem table and clutched in her had was a piece of lipstick. At last someone had done something to make them individuals again, they were someone, no longer merely the number tattooed on the arm. At last they could take an interest in their appearance. That lipstick started to give them back their humanity.” (pg 30)

These woman had experienced hell. A concentration camp where they were treated as cattle, food was scarce, living conditions were treacherous and their humanity had been sucked right out of them. Upon their rescue, items were still scarce but they had shelter, food was coming in and they were safe. Yet something inside had died. Could that something have been hope? Individuality? Passion?

Many of our children and teens today experience hell on earth. We often assume that a child is fine because they have a roof over their head and food on the table. But what has happened within those walls?

Maybe a father, who should be the one person they can trust, has sexually abused them both physically and then exploited them through photos.

Maybe a child who has witnessed their father being arrested and taken to prison for a long time, then upon release deals with constant fighting between the two parents long after the divorce and is caught in the middle of it.

Maybe a child who has watched her mom die and has the same disease that her mom did and is living in daily fear that she might die the same way her mom did?

Yes, children and teens today experience hell in their daily lives and often feel there is no way out. It can feel like no one will listen, no one believes them and that there is no one to trust. Children and teens acting out are frequently lumped into “they will out grow this,” or “how tough is it really to be a teen? Just wait until you are an adult”, or “just get over it.” Often times when children and teens are talked about it is “us” and “them” without realizing that it is really “we.”

Their pain is real, the darkness they experience is real, and often they  can feel like there is no way out. They can feel that they are alone and that no one cares. Hope is lost and they teeter on the brink of being swallowed by the dark abyss. Is what they feel really any different than the ladies in the concentration camp?

The ladies were in a situation out of their control; they had lost their humanity, their individuality and hope. Children are often in negative situations that are out of their control, leaving them feeling powerless and hopeless and feeling less than human.

Red lipstick, accidentally shipped to the rescue camp, lifted spirits and brought hope as nothing else could.  It reminded them they were important and that they were an individual. That small tube of color infused new life into them “and made the difference between heaven and hell.” (pg 30)

Horses do the same thing with our kids reaching down to their soul, going past the scars, the pain, the walls,the blackness and lets them know that they are important, they are an individual and their pain is understood…that life is OK…they can rise above their circumstances and that in spite of the hell they have been immersed in, heaven is real and it is near.

“Because sometimes, the difference between heaven and hell may be a bit of lipstick” – or for our kids, time spent with a horse.

The examples I gave of children in crisis are based on true stories of those who have found hope through our horses. Please take the time to watch the video  at this link http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/310807/x/2349828 to get a glimpse of souls being touched and walls being broken (or, simply go to www.indiegogo.com, type in “Stillwater Stables” in the search window and then click on the link to “Where the Healing Begins”). The teen who put this video and campaign together has been changed from being a part of our program. Please consider donating even $5.00. With your help we can pay off this vet bill and ensure that the children who depend on our horses will continue to be able to do so for the season of 2013. Thank you so much for joining with us!

Thank you for being a part of our team.

For His Kids,

Connie Patrick

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