Real progress takes getting off rocking horse

Judy Brandon: Religion columnist

When our children were small, we gave them a rocking horse to share as one of their Christmas presents. It was a hefty rocking horse that we kept in our family for years. Even though other toys were forgotten about as more Christmases passed, the rocking horse became a mainstay in our living room because it provided entertainment for all three until they outgrew its sturdy springs.

The children enjoyed the rocking horse. Many extended hours of fantasy amusement and activity filled our living room each day. All three kids rode to places unknown, all the while engulfed in a pretend galloping flight of fancy on a daydream pony.

The horse was suspended in the center of four metal bars that connected at the bottom. Attached to the metal bars were heaving springs so the rocking horse could do some real rocking. The horse itself was brown with white spots and sported a life-like mane. Dowels were attached to each side of the horse for the stirrups. That made it easy for our children, even when little, to step up, sling a leg over, sit in the saddle and bounce. And the saddle … oh it was genuine synthetic something — but what I am not sure. It really seemed authentic.

Annie, John Scott and Buffy would rise with the springiness that made them think they were really going some where. In their minds they could be out in the country side, traveling through fields, caverns and streams, and all the while escaping bandits or other enemies. Sometimes they were collectively being a circus act with a pony show. They spent many hours riding and rocking, hollering, riding double and sometimes even riding triple.

But the truth was that no matter how arduous they rode or how much vigor they put into their rocking and riding that horse, they never made any progress. The horse never moved. We placed it in the family room early that Christmas morning and in all those years, it stayed right there. The only evidence of its presence when we moved it was the indentions in the carpet where it stood. Why? It was pretend — it could go nowhere.

Sometimes I can identify with that rocking horse. This is why: There are changes for the new year I have to make and habits that I need to quit nourishing, but the catch is that if I proceed just like I did in the year 2010, none of those changes will come to fruition. I will be on a mental rocking horse, wanting to change, wanting to go in another direction but not doing so. It will be pretend.

I have some hopes for the new year 2011 and it has to do with my God focus. I have made some resolutions. I have done some introspection about things I ought to do. I know there are some areas that weigh heavily on my mind and I want to change them. They are related to my spiritual life, attitudes, shortcomings and even dreams for the future.

I am maintaining that 2011 will be different for me. I want to get to know Christ in a more intimate way, reach out to others and exemplify the fruits of the sprit in my daily walk. I am taking Joshua’s advice: “Choose you this day.” (Joshua 24:15) In other words, this is the year.

Joshua had it right; he thought it was a necessity to make a change in direction toward a God focus. There is a necessity in all our lives for that response because any day could be our last. Further, if we do not embrace the changes that God wants us to make, time may decide for us.

Judy Brandon is a Clovis resident. Contact her at: