“The best of ideas can only be built on a foundation that will support them.” The screen blurred through my struggled to stay awake. I read a quote by Martin Luther King Jr. “If we are to go forward, we must go back and rediscover those precious values – that all reality hinges on moral foundations and that all reality has spiritual control.” Then sleep viscously grabbed me.
I reached out into the sands of time in an attempt to silence the voices that have long sought to change the foundations that I rely on. The voices of deceit have longed to control my thoughts and render me ineffective. Yet, as I reach for them, silence booms out. A desperate silence that I don’t understand. Suddenly, I’m treading on the dark water. I can feel the beast lurking unseen beneath, daring me to find it, promising me riches. The thought of giving in to its promises makes me shake with fear and I don’t know why. The silence is so strong now that it’s difficult to even see if my soul is still there. I know that it must be, but it’s far away in a ravine – hiding.
I lurched awake in a cold sweat. I stared unseeing at the dark gray clouds that loitered in the afternoon sky. Their indecisiveness had been churning since early morning. The air was sickly still, oppressive and warm. Something wasn’t right.
“The boss will kill you if he found out you slept way past lunch break.” Tangles’ goofy sense of humor hid the sharpness. I am the boss. Her smile placated any sense that she didn’t love my company. Her laugh, infectious. Her eyes twinkling. Deception hung like a dark cape around me. Soon I would discover the truth in Shakespeare’s words, “All the worlds a stage.” Indeed so.
“Tangles, I need to check the trail for any stragglers. That storm’s about to hit and I don’t want them in it.”
Tangles cocked her head to one side and frowned. “Everybody came and left before you fell asleep. Barn rats have already washed down the horses, brushed them out, fed them, and stalled them. All except for Butternut. Barn rats are all safe and sound at home. Nobody’s out there, Jonathan. That’s why you took a nap.”
“Something’s wrong. I’m going to check it out.”
“Whatever you say, Jonathan. Butternut still has her saddle on. She’s all ready for your afternoon ride.”
I pulled my boots on and walked out to the barn and over to the calmest mare in the stables. I patted her on the neck. “We need to take a quick trip, girl.” And, I quickly jumped on. In my hurry to check the trail, I didn’t check the saddle. It was an oversight that would haunt me.
I lightly kicked Butternut into action. She jumped uneasily to the edge of a terror that I didn’t understand, she barely followed my directions.
The beginning of the trail passed sluggishly by. As we pass the fork in the trail that led to the pond, Butternut unexpectedly stopped. I scratched Butternut on her neck and spoke softly. It seemed to help. Maybe it was me that it helped. A horse fly the size of New Hampshire angrily buzzed Butternut’s face. That was enough. Butternut jumped and bucked like she was in a rodeo. Up and down I went, holding the reigns tight, trying to hug her neck. Suddenly the saddle pulled away from me. I pulled up and up into a horror. My boot twisted in the stirrup. Blue sky turned into Butternut’s hoof staring at me from inches away. As the horse bucked, I pushed off of the ground. Up and down. Up and down. When Butternut twisted again, she kicked me in the face. I fell hard against the stirrup that held tight against my boot. Pain shot through my leg when the stirrup unexpectedly broke. It saved my life. Butternut bolted back to the safety of her stall.
Blurry-eyed and limping, I made it back to the barn and fell on the bales of hay.
Tangles found me as she was leaving for the day. I woke up again on the couch in my office with dinner on the table in front of me.
Tangles smiled infectiously, “Before you ask, Butternut’s fine. She’s happily munching in her stall. The doc’s come and gone. You’ll be fine, too. He made me promise to tell you that you’re thick head does come in handy sometimes.”
I looked at her and scowled, “Why do you keep calling the vet instead of my doc? Do I look like a horse to you?”
Tangles laughed hard, “Now I know you’re feeling okay.”
I smiled back. “Thanks, Doc.”
“Do you want me to stay with you?”
“Are you offering to move in with me, Tangles?”
Tangles looked up to the sky and shook her head. “I need to go now and let you work on better pick-up lines. You really need some help.”
“Ouch. Good night, Tangles.”
“Good night, Jonathan. You have my number if you start seeing two-headed horses breathing red fire.”
“Doc, doc, are you still there? Everything’s getting dark! Doc!”
“Oh please. Open your eyes, Jonathan.”
“A miracle worker! An angel.”
“Good night, Jonathan. Work on your lines with Butternut. Maybe that will help, but I doubt it.”
“Oh, that hurts.”
Tangles laughed and went home.
I admired the pictures of my horses as I finished dinner and left the dishes strewn across the table. “Thank you God for being blessed to take care of such amazing horses. Thanks for having a doc who will cook dinner for me. And, please take care of TJ at his prom tonight. Good night.”
Morning came crashing through the door in a blink of an eye. A sandy-haired wiry teenager came dancing through the door. “Boss! You can’t still be asleep, they’ll be here soon. Woah, what happened to you? You look like someone poured coffee over your hard-drive. Was that you on the news last night?”
My head pounded. My knee ached. I groaned. “Butternut had an issue last night.”
“Nutterbutter always has issues, boss.”
“Stop calling her Nutterbutter.”
“Yeah, whatever you say. She’s a nutty mare, but you must have had an especially great time with her. She had her saddle on all night. I saw the broken stirrup. She’s in a really bad mood. We can’t take her out today.”
Tangles walked in, said hi, and then answered her phone. “Tangles here. Okay. Okay. Yes, I’m available. I’ll be right there.”
My stomach tightened into a huge knot. David Brinkley did say that A successful man is the one who can lay a firm foundation with the bricks that others have thrown at him. I do believe that I have a good start at rebuilding New York City.
I turned away from tangles and looked out the window. “We need to here today. The charity is bringing some challenging kids over. I said we would have you here in case something happened. This is a key part for me working with this charity. You promised.”
Tangles answered, “Jonathan, nothing ever happens during these weekends. I have a chance to pick up an extra shift and I took it. No big deal.”
TJ turned into a TV monster, “Arrrrg boss Jonathan, Miss Tangles’ bank account is like an evil Frankenstein. Arrrrg. Feed me. Feed me. Give me more money!” TJ did a remarkable imitation of Frankenstein walking around the room.
I laughed. “Hey TJ, not bad.”
Tangles rolled her eyes, “Really? You’re encouraging this?”
TJ switched from monster to rap. “Well I don’t know, but I’ve been told. Shillings are chilling and’ll freeze you in place. Now lay down cool cause I’m not done. Pesos are lassos that won’t let you run. Tangled in a web, I’ll give you one more. Dollars are collars that will lead you like a dog. Now get it straight, money rules her roost.”
I applauded. Tangles left.
TJ imitated Tangles walking out of the room. “You know Jonathan, Epictetus said that wealth consists not in having great possessions, but in having few wants. You know that I only have a few wants. Is wanting a billions dollars only one want?”
“TJ, can I book you during the evenings as a stand-up comic entertaining the special needs kids?”
TJ Bowed. “Thanks boss. I’ll have to check with my agent. My people will get back with your people. Hey guess what. Seriously, I’ve passed my advanced first aid and I’m working on becoming an EMT. Can I help?”
“TJ, I’m impressed. That might work. I’ll run it by the clients.”
I made time to pray to God before I ran it by the clients. “Dear God, whatever drives me to You is good for me, no mater how painful it is. Please touch this and let Tangles, TJ and myself see Your work.”
I approached the clients as they drove up and were unloading. They all knew TJ and loved him. They thought he was an even better choice then Tangles.
Thank You God that I built the foundations of this charity on Your concepts of helping people and not on Tangles’ foundation of money. Life is good.
The best of ideas can only be built on a foundation that will support them.
As it says in Ephesians 2:19-21 “So then, you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord.”
God chose us before he created the foundation of the world.
God wants us to be sucessful.
God created a foundation for us to build an amazingly sucessful life upon.
There’s a plan that I want to constantly learn more about!
Why would I want to build my life on a faulty foundation?