The Gentle Beast

Lightning was a magnificent mustang purchased by a couple that rented land from a woman named Susie. He stood 15-1/2 hands tall and was deep red in color with black stockings on all four feet, long black tail and mane that waved softly as he galloped across the field. Down his face blazed a white streak of lightning that could be seen in the blackness of night. Though he stood proudly, he was a horse that had been neglected by his former owner and he was underweight. I visited Susie's house almost everyday just to see Lightning. I watched him as he ate and ran. I watched every gesture he made with his feet and his head. When the owners would come out to feed him, he would stand far away and wait until they left before going to his food. As time went on he rounded out very nicely and he became very muscular. His red coat glistened in the sun.

Each day I would stand a little closer to the fence. I yearned for him to know that I was his friend. Each time he would draw a little closer, always staring intently at me, as if watching my every move also. I sang to him my favorite praise and worship songs from church and the radio and when I spoke to him it was always in a whisper or a low soft tone. One day as I slowly approached the fence, Lightning stood and never flinched, his ears were laid flat back, but he never moved. So I began to sing softly to him and instead of me standing up facing him eye to eye, I slowly sat down in the grass. Alert to my every move, he watched and as time went on he inched closer and closer to the wire fence. He began sniffing my shoes and legs, which were under the fence on his side. Pushing his head through the wire, he came forward and we were face to face. He nibbled on my long sleeves and then all of a sudden pushed his face into my chest. This huge wild animal could have trampled me if he wanted to, half

Days that followed became more and more awesome between Lightning and myself and we developed a bond, a respect and love for each other. Then, one day, the couple who owned Lightning happened to step out on the porch as I was stroking his neck. Lightning heard their door close and his head snapped back and his nostrils flared. The gentle look in his eyes just a few minutes earlier had become a fiery glare of hatred and fear. This I did not understand, until one evening I stepped out of Susie's house onto her front porch. The owners of Lightning had captured him and saddled him up to ride him. He was tied between two posts, his body quivering as they saddled him. His hindquarters moved frantically back and forth. They grabbed the bit and pulled on his ears trying to get it into his mouth and Lightning screamed in pain as the owner with all his might, balled up his fist and punched Lightning right across the face, trying to get Lightning to behave. That day will stay with me for the rest of my life.

Like Lightning, many of us have had horrible things happen to us in our past. We hunger perhaps, not for food, but for love, companionship, and understanding. We do not need those who would tell us where we went wrong and we sure don't need anyone telling us what to do and how to do it. What we need is someone who will listen, someone who will accept us for what and who we are and not throw the punch of judgment towards us. We need someone who will speak gently with us, who will sing with us bringing peace to our souls, minds, and to our hearts. We need that special someone to reach out with a gentle hand of trust and reassurance, to understand that each individual is created differently, and to lovingly stand by us.

As time went on Lightning became uncontrollable towards the owners and they eventually sold him. I remember the day I said good-bye to him, there I stood face to face with this gentle beast. I felt his hunger for attention and love. I felt his anger and fear towards those who mistreated him and my heart went out to him. As my hands slowly glided across his neck and down his broad chest, he trembled, not in fear of me, but of not knowing what was beyond, of where he would end up. A trembling that I shared of not being able to be near that special someone who brought love, trust, happiness, and understanding to his heart. If I could have bought him, I would have, but instead he was shipped off to yet another home. The love that we once shared, he found once again in his new home and so for Lightning it was a happy ending, a long awaited and well deserved ending.

[ by Maria Urso, copyright 2002 ( -- from '2THEHEART' ]


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