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Grief, Great Friday, and Comfort

The tribulations, crucifixion, death, and burial of Christ are honored today, tomorrow, and Sunday in the Greek Orthodox Faith. I come from a long line of priests on my paternal side, broken only in my father’s generation. Fitting, then, that I would wake this Great Friday morning feeling a cloak of grief cover me and a strong desire to hear the sounds that would’ve entered my soul had I been able to go to church to hear them.

Fitting once again, that the first notification I had from Facebook was that such sounds were available from my own village, no less, on Youtube...

And, because life is not lived in a vacuum, neither is my horsemanship separate from my beliefs, my heritage, my personality, my history, and my other life roles (wife, mother, daughter, friend, etc.).

With my horses I am first and foremost their herd leader, I am their human partner, and, of course, their biggest fan, but I am also openly and honestly true to who I am and what I feel. I don’t purposely go and work with them if I am having an “off” day, but, it’s amazing how much they can make me feel on the spectrum of emotions! I mostly feel joy and peace when I am with them, but sadness, and grief can creep up, too, especially when I see them suffering, releasing pain, or sometimes when they get very soft in my presence, breathe me in, and make me feel deeply loved.

In this clip, I had been sitting on a cone, giving Txoko time to release pain and tension that I had noticed he was experiencing, but holding in. It worked. He had yawned and licked and chewed, and neither of us was in a hurry to go anywhere.

As we sat together, he entered a calm state that radiated outward and engulfed me with a sense of connection to something much bigger than the two of us. Almost immediately I felt grief bubble up from inside of me and overflow. I didn’t hold it back. I didn’t analyze it. I just let it go.

Txoko seemed to understand what was happening; he began to comfort me and love on me, putting his muzzle on my salty face and that just made me cry more, but no longer feeling sadness, just a strong release of pent up emotion. Oh! The way he opened that door to my feelings!

The added beauty of this moment is that it is he who is giving back to me! On a daily basis I try to be that safe space for all horses who cross my path--I want them to feel they can let down their defenses and tell me what is bothering them. Just being heard is a powerful healer. I know from experience!

So, to have him treat me the way I treat him is just incredible.

To conclude...On this, Greek Orthodox Great Friday, I feel a sadness like I did in this video, but today more particularly for the humiliations of Christ and his crucifixion, and for all the suffering in the world because of COVID, not to mention other injustices, sickness, poverty, crime, tragedies, and pain experienced by our fellow humans and other magnificent living beings…

As Txoko watched over me in this video, I believe we are all being watched over and guided and loved by powers in Heaven, and that the promises of the Resurrection will renew in us feelings of joy and hope that we can use to do better, be better, and heal ourselves and our beautiful world. Humble hugs to you all... Kali Anastasi!

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