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Adventures with God, pt. 2

03 Jun Spiritual Formation | Comments Off on Adventures with God, pt. 2
Adventures with God, pt. 2

Editor’s Note: Today we hear part two of Deb Turnow’s series “Adventures with God.” Deb’s been challenging us to think about what we’re doing with our one wild and crazy life. What have we been willing to say, “Yes” to? To read part one of this series, click here.

“I never rode a bull – I’m not that stupid.” – James Caan

Well, James Caan, I am that stupid. Yes, I did ride a bull. It was in 1972. I was a foolish teenager trying to impress a guy I was dating. He was a rodeo guy. I had watched him ride and thought, “Why not?” So, I asked, they said yes and the fun began.

Now I am no expert but let me try to set this up for you. You have to have the right gear. Spurs are a must.   When you come out of the chute (that’s bull-rider talk for the small pen that holds the bull while the rider climbs on) you lean back and bring your legs up besides the bull’s neck….then you ‘hook em’….which means you draw your spurs against their skin to make them mad. Crazy what humans sit around and think of. And I would never do it now – not because I would be afraid but because I am not into the whole animal cruelty thing. But there is a story to tell and I have wandered.

So – the gear… besides spurs you need chaps. Chaps are those cool leather ‘kinda’ pants you wear over your jeans – cause you would never do bull riding in linen. J You also need boots. Now I had several pairs of boots. I used to show horses so boots were important as they helped you keep you foot in the stirrups when you rode. But for bulls, there is no saddle, therefore no stirrups. But you can’t wear spurs on your bare feet, silly!

Then you need a cowboy hat… and because of the aforementioned horse-showing thing, I had a few of those too. So, the last thing I needed (and like the spurs, I needed to borrow this) was a glove. It is a special glove used for bull riding.

So, I got all dressed up and then I needed to climb the fence to get into the chute with the bull. As you can imagine he was not too happy about being in that little chute and he was extra unhappy with a person climbing in on top of him… but that is what you have to do if you want to ride this bull. I sat myself down and then the technical part comes into play. There is a piece of gear that goes around the bull – under his belly and up to his back just behind his shoulders. There is a strap attached that the rider then wraps around his – or in this case – her hand – several times. But before you do that, you put resin on your glove because you don’t want to slip out of that hold. No – you would rather have your arm pulled off at the shoulder than lose your grip on that strap. It is about this time that I was thinking to myself – this is not one of my best ideas. But pride – or stupidity – pushed me forward and I settled onto this beast’s back.


I then did what I saw all the other cowboys do… I tipped my cowboy hat and gave a slight nod of my head to let the keeper of the gate know that I was now ready for him to open the gate on the chute and conquer the 1500 – 2000 pounds of pure energy I was sitting on. The gate opened, the bull bolted and I leaned back and ‘hooked’ him. It was amazing. It was brief. Believe it or not, I stayed on all 8 seconds (8 seconds may not seem like a long time but on the back of a bull it is an eternity). Before I knew it there were cowboys on horses on each side of me. One of them lifted me off to safety and I now I had lived to tell the most awesome story tell.

So – again – what do you want to do with this wild and precious life you have? What might represent your ‘bull’? Do you play the game of ‘what if’?  What if I fall off? What if I make a fool of myself? What if I get hurt? What will others think?

What might it be like to take one step towards getting into that shute, wrapping the strap around your hand and giving a nod to God that you are ready for Him to open the door, all the while trusting that He won’t let you fall?

More next week….

Grace and peace


Deb Turnow
Executive Director at Kavanna House
Deb Turnow is the Executive Director of Kavanna House, a spiritual formation center in York, Pa. Prior to that role, she was the Director of Spiritual Direction at Living Word Community Church in York. She has a Bachelor Degree in Psychology from York College in Pennsylvania and a M.A. in Spiritual Formation and Leadership from Spring Arbor University. She is also a graduate of the Spiritual Guidance Program at Shalem Institute. She is currently studying at San Francisco Theological Seminary. She is a certified spiritual director and also provides supervision for spiritual directors. She and her husband Jeff, live in York, PA.