Ending 2014, I had such determination to achieve all my personal goals of things that had to be finished…no more lingering on the lists but checked off complete. New Year’s Eve rolled in and I had sincere confidence that I could do the same in the New Year. After the stroke of midnight, all was well. Bringing in the newness with Marcia and my aunt could not have been more memorable! Then January 2nd arrived and dropped off a package of reality–this year would not be like last year; no, it is new and already I am seeing changes that will likely be more permanent in the months to come.
Unlike previous years, I entered 2015 with no goals, no words of the year and no book challenge. Maybe this was too extreme, because I am finding my mind just wanders. Not so much wanders but almost fighting time as I see it–part of me sees that I have time now to just live and do things that I want to do while I still can and part of me eyes the reverse that I have so much to get done that I can’t on my own and I am running out of time.
One of my favorite movies is The Ride. Growing up in a southwest ranch country, the cowboy theme just could not fit any better bonus our town held a rodeo and Stampede every summer!! But that is not why I favorite the movie . . . it is because of Danny O’Neal. The movie starts 0ff at a rodeo. We meet the main man–the famous bull rider, Smokey Banks–as he just competed. Now living a life of failure rides, drinking and gambling mishaps resulting in fights, Smokey is headed to nowhere but trouble. Until that day. He meets Danny, who is an ultimate fan of Smokey Banks.
Mike Stillwell runs a boy’s ranch, where troubled boys are given a second chance; we discover Smokey Banks ending at the ranch after a series of events at the rodeo . . . but it was not the events that landed him at the ranch. He had stolen Mike’s truck in a chase to get his trailer and belongings, taken by the bank. Even beyond that, Danny prayed Smokey would come to the ranch and God answered. Smokey now had his second chance–and a task, teach Danny to ride a bull.
Danny is not a troubled teen; he was sent to the ranch through a trust fund after both his parents died. Danny has cancer, but that never stops him from wanting to ride a bull. At what I consider the climax of the movie, Smokey seeks out Danny in his ranch house room. It was the eve before Danny’s junior bull riding competition and Smokey wanted to present Danny with a belt buckle he had won from his early riding days. Danny said he wanted to win his own and Smokey told him that he believed he would, but to have it anyway.
Then Danny says something so profound, it often comes to mind…especially this past few weeks. In discussing winning, Danny looks at Smokey and says in full confidence: “You see, it is not about how long I am on. But how well I ride.”
Even though Danny is discussing bull riding, I see it in view of my life as well. I should be enjoying the life God has given me, being mindful that it is but a breath. And I should be living out the Spiritual gifts that God has placed in me, leaving the worries of tomorrow in God’s hands. I have to admit–experiencing the decay and knowing the road ahead is not a smooth one, I just want the easier way. If a bull rider wanted the easy way, he should never get on for the ride. The Apostle Paul write to the church at Philippi,
Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Let those of us who are mature think this way, and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal that also to you. Only let us hold true to what we have attained. (3:13-16)
So what matters? God is revealing to me in different ways what should matter most in my life . . . drawing closer to Him–in all things, because He will give me the strength to press on each day. He alone will judge how well I ride.