As I stand on the side lines, watching my daughter as she rides in a hunt seat class, I feel my thoughts wonder off to all the things that I need to accomplish in the next four hours. As the ring steward calls for the riders to line up with their backs to the judge, I lean over to one of the other moms, and let her know I have to cut out because I need to get back to the farm to teach. She whispers back, I don't know how you do it all.
So ever since that day, I have been wondering why do I continue living life at the pace that I do? Why do I continue to lift others up, to cheer on my students, push my body to the limits of sleep deprivation and still manage to show up with a smile. As I was feeding the horses this morning, I had an epiphany, it hit me like a ton of bricks falling out of the darkest of shadows cast by the brilliant moon.
Lets rewind the clock back almost a decade, my daughter was young, I had no money, and was stepping ungracefully into the world of being a single parent. It is when life had me on my knees wondering how I could make it all work that I took a job as a 911 dispatcher. For those that are unaware, dispatchers work ungodly hours and are on call 24 hours a day. When I first got hired I worked deep nights, meaning I rarely observed the sun when it was high in the sky, and I often hid in the house with my new born and the curtains pulled tight to block out the sun. I had a nanny that would come over at night be with my daughter while I worked. Times were tough, I can't even begin to put into words right now the emotional turmoil that I put myself through on the daily.
Lets talk about what dispatchers do real quick, we are the thin gold line that separates society from law enforcement and first responders. When you as a member of society are having your worst day ever, you call 911 seeking help. So just imagine for a split second, answering the phone for 8 to 12 hours a day, and experiencing every ones worst day ever, ALL DAY LONG. It takes its toll on a persons outlook on humanity. When you answer the phone and hear a young girl crying because she can't wake up her mommy, or the coldness in a persons tone when they say they are about to take their own life and need law enforcement to come collect their body before their family comes home, it changes your personality in small settle ways. I still remember answering the phone and hearing a woman whispering, "they are in the house and I don't want to die today." These moments, when you are standing on the edges society, bearing audible witness to the atrocities that mankind can do to one another, you have to make a choice. You can choose to step into the darkness and fight it from with in, which is what I feel law enforcement and first responders do, or you can step back and choose to be a light.
I chose to be a light, I have chosen every day to be a light. Though I will admit, some days are harder than others. When I see my daughter I will always smile and tell her I love her. There will never be a day that I will not hug my young students and tell them that I am proud of all of their accomplishments, no matter how great or small. When my adult students are struggling with their faith in their own riding abilities, I will always smile and say yes you can do it!! I will always show up for my students with a smile and words of encouragement, no matter how tired I might be. I will continue to show kindness in this world to all those I greet, because once you have glimpsed the darkness of humanity, you realize that being kind is the only way to go on.
So with that, I encourage kindness for everyone! Smile at a stranger, wave to a passerby, purchase a meal at a drive through for the car behind you. Just be kind to one another and with those small acts of kindness, we can make this world a little bit brighter.