A man’s wisdom gives him patience; it is to his glory to overlook an offense. Proverbs 19:11 (NIV)
Three horses live in my backyard. My horse is a bay (brown with a black mane and tail) Morgan named Trucker. My friends own the other two. Indigo or Indy is a cremello (think the color of cream) Paso Fino, and Tarzan is a palomino (light gold) Paso Fino. They are all geldings (ah hem, neutered males) and for the most part get along well. Lately, with the change in weather and time, they are agitated. Whether it is a delay in their feeding schedule or the cooler weather, they are wound up, running around the pasture like wild mustangs and instigating mock battles like stallions protecting their herd. Horses, like dogs, have a hierarchy in their herd, but in our little group, no one is the boss of everyone. Trucker intimidates Tarzan and protects Indy from Tarzan’s bullying, but Indy rules over Trucker. They sometimes play a game I call musical stalls. Each has his own place and knows it. Tarzan is in the outside stall. Trucker is in the middle, and Indy is tucked up next to the feed and tack room protected from the north wind. When they are full of themselves, they try to claim another horse’s stall, and I have to intervene. Trucker is the worst about it. He seems to enjoy running another horse out of his home. He will sneak around me to stand in Tarzan’s stall, fold his ears back and glare. Don’t you come this way, boy, I’ll beat you up. Then, I holler at him to get in his own stall. He lowers his head and slinks back to his place. If I am not careful and shut both his gates first, he tries to slip out again. Sometimes, Tarzan does the same thing to Trucker. Usually, by the time I get everyone situated, they are reaching over the stall walls loving on each other like nothing ever happened. Their crazy behavior made me think much they have to teach us humans. Generally, people don’t get up in the morning and say, “I am going to see how many people I can offend, upset and make angry today.” Yet, we walk around with a chip on our shoulder because the cashier didn’t move fast enough or the co worker laughed when we made a mistake or our spouse forgot something very important to us. My Sunday School teacher says that there is no offense taken if none is intended. If someone did not intentionally mean to hurt my feelings, then, there is no reason for me to get all huffy and angry at them for slighting me. I try to remember that in this world we are all going to bump up against each other as we go along our day. Someone may not be careful, but that doesn’t mean that they intended to offend or are out to get us. Maybe they have something else on their mind. Like trying to figure out why their horse behaves so oddly.