By Marian Vermeulen
A bright October sun warmed Stanley and I as we headed down the driveway, bound for the trails. I was driven out here to escape the world. Shortly before I had ventured onto Facebook to indulge in one of my weaknesses (window shopping on Horses for Sale in Michigan groups) and was horrified to stumble across a post made by a good friend of mine that was dripping with such venom it made me cringe. Making the mistake of scrolling further downwards, all I found was more and more of the same. I was already distressed by the tone this election year has been taking, not to mention the violence and hatred that seems so prevalent these days, and I made a hasty exit, found my gorgeous palomino gelding, and took off for my sanctuary.
I allowed my mind to blank out as we entered the leafy cover of the forest, the sunlight through the canopy dappling both the ground and us. The already fallen leaves sang a gentle swish swish under Stanley’s hooves, and those still on the trees burst around us in a fiery myriad of colors. The different textures of bark all stood out in sharp contrast to one another, birch, maple, oak, pine, all unique and all beautiful. I closed my eyes and let Stanley take control, listening to the whisper of the wind through the trees.
I hope everyone has an escape like mine, a place to run where God’s loving abundance abounds. And if I may humbly suggest it, I have two requests. As we head into the culmination of a frequently difficult and discouraging presidential race, one escalated by stories of anger and hatred, fear and violence, bombarding us from all quarters, no matter which party, platform, or candidate you support, remember that it is possible to calmly disagree with someone without spiteful language and hateful thoughts. Remember that they are all human beings. We may question their beliefs, their plans, or their morals, but we as Christians are called to love them nonetheless, through our words and our deeds, as Jesus would have done. Second, I would ask each and every one of you to find an escape this October. Find a place to be alone in God’s incredible creation, to clear your mind of all of the chaos, and to simply be grateful for the incredible blessings that He has bestowed upon us all.