By Lucy Winn Fuller
Life didn’t get easier. It got harder. I had a very abusive stepfather and rebelled in my teenage years. The harder he hit me with his cruel words, the further I traveled down a deep, dark path (Think; blue hair, heavy metal music, and anger.) I ended up graduating high school with a GED and then partied for nearly a year before college. I was a mess. I was angry. I was confused. I was searching for myself. The only thing that saved me during those years was Mama’s constant prayers and my love of horses.
Sometimes when things got tough, Mama would take me driving. We would go get ice-cream and drive into the sunset. Sometimes, we would talk. Sometimes, we would just listen to music. The sunset was always there. So was mama’s hand. She always knew when we needed to “go for a drive.” Other days, when life presented a challenge, I would retreat to the barn and watch the sunset from my horse’s back.
It always brought me back to reality. Even to this day, aside from music and ice-cream, horses have always been healing to me. The best medicine I have ever had was a warm muzzle on my shoulder and a cool breeze in my hair. Horses understand what humans don’t. They are the best listeners and they never tell your secrets. Horses and sunsets became my “go-to” therapy.
It’s amazing how certain situations never leave your memory. You learn to accept the hard times because you realize that you will never begin to make sense of it. Trust me, I’ve spent over 30 years trying to make sense of my life as well as understand the “whys” and imagine the “what if’s.” It’s not necessarily a waste of time; it’s more of a waste of energy. It’s a lot easier to just accept that stuff happens, because there is nothing you can do about it. Period.
There are many seasons of life. Life isn’t composed of only four seasons like the world we live in. It’s composed of birth, growth, regrowth, setbacks, humbleness, hardships, journeys, battles, overcoming, achievements, more growth, and the list goes on. I’m learning to appreciate and accept these seasons.
I’ve had my share of storms in life but I’ve learned that if I stay strong and keep moving forward I will find the sun again. I guess that’s the key. Keep moving forward. In my mind, I picture the term “moving forward” as galloping my horse bareback in a beautiful meadow, breeze in my hair, chasing the sunset.
The simple image of that instantly calms me and brings me back to the light once more.
I may not be galloping my horse bareback, but I do chase the sunset daily. I don’t even have a horse to look at let alone gallop into the sunset on. Hopefully one day that will change, but until it does, there are always rides in the car. Jody and I load up Abigail and my trusty Jack Russell and we go driving. He has asked me from time to time “which way should we go.” I always say “in the direction of the sunset.” I never fail to get completely lost in the beauty of the sun and the promise of life it gives.
The setting sun is very special to me and something that I will never take for granted. The sunset symbolizes another day that I have “made it.” It’s proof that I lasted another day. “I did it” and here’s my reward. Sunsets never disappoint. I don’t know about you, but I’ve never seen an ugly sunset. Sunsets are always glorious but, here in the South, they are something to behold.
The way I look at it is this; I have a choice every morning if I want to continue “living” or just “being.”
Anyone can just be present in this life and not really live it. I choose to live. Though the days may sometimes be long and hard, I remind myself how far I have come. When the day comes to a close I go outside and wait for the sunset. That is my reward. That is my sign of life. I made it to another sunset.
That’s something my father didn’t get to do. So far, I have made it through 148 seasons and 13,505 sunsets. I plan on living my life so I can continue chasing sunsets. They are, and always will be, my reward. My kiss from heaven and my personal high five from God, himself.
The breeze is so cool today. I’m sitting on the porch in deep reflection over the past 34 years of my life.
Lost in thought, I am suddenly brought back to reality as I hear the rustling of the flag. I move my gaze slowly to it where my eyes are met with the sweet sight of Jody pushing Abigail in her stroller down our quiet country road. And it all fizzles away. All the pain dissipates. I can’t help but feel anything but pride as I sit and relish in what I have overcome.
I made it. Here I am. Every scar, every tattoo, every freckle, every gray hair, every breath, every bruise, every broken bone, every tear, every smile and every laugh. I’m here. I have survived hard things. I catch myself smiling slightly as I type this because the early signs of fall are making themselves apparent with the cool breeze flowing through that grand ‘ole flag. The breeze feels good. It would be a good day to go horseback riding but for now, I will stick with chasing sunsets.
Lucy Fuller is a lover of nature, animals, gardening, and old houses. She is a full time mother and wife. She currently resides in Opelika with her husband, two daughters, 3 dogs, and cat. She can be reached at email@example.com