In any event, I guess the horse I was riding decided that he was ready to get on home. He took off galloping toward the barn, and before I could stop him, he threw me for a loop as he turned into our driveway. To make matters worse, he stepped on my ribs as I hit the ground! I just laid there are groaned.
And I was pretty upset. After all, I had a right to be. It did hurt, to be sure. But, in truth, my pride was wounded far more than my body. My father, sensing this, first checked me to see if I was actually injured. He then went and caught the horse. All the while, I was wondering what he would do. Would he punish the horse? Or just let the whole episode pass?
To my surprise, he then picked me up, dusted me off, and put me right back up on the horse. His admonition has stayed with me down through the years: “Son, there will always be times in life when you will need to get back up in the saddle right away!”
His point, of course, was that I did not need to let my ordeal get the best of me. If I did, I would likely never ride again. And he was right. To this day, I am thankful for what he did. It is always critical, you see, to get back in the saddle, no matter how comfortable it might seem just to lay back down. For, temptations to just lie on the ground notwithstanding, we were made to get up and ride, not to lie down and rest.
Of course, “Back in the Saddle” is a familiar phrase for many of us. It is the name of Gene Autry’s classic 1939 song (one that was, in fact, voted the 98th best song of the 20th century by the Recording Industry Association of America). In 1941, a movie starring Gene Autry shared the same title. Then, in 1977, yet another group known as Aerosmith had a hit song with the same
title. Today, numerous organizations, including several equine rehabilitation programs, share this same title as well.
For most of us, however, the phrase has simply come to mean getting back into a routine, especially after a hiatus of some sort. In fact, it is not uncommon to hear someone say, after a vacation, that they are now “back in the saddle”. For my part, having just completed a week of vacation down in Florida, this phrase now has a new relevance. As of tomorrow morning, I am now officially “back in the saddle”.
This past week, my wife and I logged over 1500 miles in eight days – first down to Atlanta to see my mother, then on to Florida to see my sister, then to Mississippi to see our son, all before heading back to Atlanta to spend one last night with my mother.
Suffice it to say that it has been a busy eight days. And it was nice to get out of the routine. But, at the same time, I do feel somewhat refreshed. Getting away from the routine and having a chance to clear one’s head can be a very productive undertaking. For me, at least, this past week has been fairly refreshing - especially the three days spent on the beach being lazy.
Nonetheless, tomorrow morning, I will once again “saddle ‘em up”, and then… I’ll “head ‘em up, and move ‘em out”! And I will be better off doing this than if I had simply lain down and given up. For, ultimately, we were not created to lie down and quit, but to stand up, mount up, and ride on. For, only then, can we ever hope to make a difference. Only then, can we ever hope to live a life that matters.
So, along with Frankie Laine (the original recorder), Liza Minnelli, Link Wray, Riders in the Sky, The Ventures, The Dead Kennedys, The Blues Brothers. The 101 Strings Orchestra. The Greenbriar Boys, Sublime, The Jackson 5, The Meteors, The Men They Couldn't Hang, Dezperadoz,, Litfiba, Oingo Boingo, Jan Rot, Johnny Western, Happy Feet Two, and the immortal Johnny Cash (all of whom have covered the original hit song), let’s all “head 'em up and move 'em out”!
Let’s get “Back in the Saddle” and go forward, fulfilling the purpose for which we were created. In short, let’s all get up, get going, and make a difference with our God given talent and our God given lives!