If I have learned nothing else in these past 8 years running Avalon Horse Farm, I have learned that flexibility is one of the key traits that needs to be practiced at all times. Last night I knew what I wanted to write about on this second day of Christmas. But today, it has become clear that it is much more important to write about the gift of Avalon’s community. They are a gift to me that I can never quite grasp what I have done to deserve such faithfulness, love, and outpouring from over and over again. I stand in awe of being part of a community that is truly magical.
Avalon was named with the following in mind. We shared this understanding of Avalon in our first communication with this community over 8 years ago. It remains true for today in more ways than I could have imagined.
“Those of you familiar with the King Arthur stories will recognize Avalon as the place that was between the worlds. It was not heaven, but it also was not the bustle and mundaneness of ordinary life. It is our intention and desire to create for you an experience with your horse that is outside of the bustle and ordinariness of everyday life. We want your experience to be close to other worldly. We have done much over the years to make this Vision a reality. Most importantly I believe that Avalon has become for many, many people and creatures a place of Sanctuary. A place where the rest of the world can fall away.”
Avalon as sanctuary has been my deepening desire for a couple of years now. I have settled into recognizing that this place is more than a horse boarding and teaching facility. Oh I think folks come to us seeking these things. But they stay because they find peace and healing and space to dream. Folks come to us when they need what we can offer and they leave when they are ready for something new.
This year this community and this space has been my sanctuary, my place of breathing and healing. The space itself heals my wounded spirit. The animals humor me and make me smile. And the people, wow the people, stun me day after day after day with their embracing of me in whatever way I can show up each day. Never have I been part of a community of people who are more generous, loving, dedicated to dreaming, and willing to jump right in to make new things happen for the whole farm. And never have I been part of an entire community who loves my kids and I with such faithfulness.
Every year the people of Avalon have gone in on a gift for me and for the farm. Years past have brought wheelbarrows, rakes, round bale feeders, chiropractic gift certificates, a car, miniature horses, paid off vet bills, heated hoses, and my Willow puppy. I have been surprised with more wonderful things than I could ever imagine.
Well this year, it’s gotten even bigger. This community led by the force of nature that Denise and John Wottowa can be, has pulled together the funds, the workforce, the supplies, and the plans(thanks Dad) to build our Avalon Sanctuary Retreat Center. IT IS HAPPENING! My desire to have an inside, retreat space to offer concentrated programs focusing on healing of humans’ hearts is going to happen! The unbelievable outpouring of talent, time, and funds has made us more than meet our goal to build and BUILD NOW!
This gift is beyond my imaginings and I am deeply filled with gratitude for this amazing Christmas gift. It is a gift for me and a gift for the whole community. It is a gift of belief in my dreams for what we can do at Avalon. It is a testament of faith in me. It is a community gathering around and saying YES!
The added piece of this gift for me today was that the excited, pumped up community that all wanted to be there for the giving of this gift listened to my need for space today. They heard my sadness, my feelings of being overwhelmed by missing Russell, my need for alone time and allowed the gift to be given to me in a quiet, few people involved, way. I know that everyone wanted to be there to watch me receive the gift cards and money and plans for this project. I am touched to the depth of my being that everyone allowed me to say what I could handle. Know that I felt your presence with me and am thankful for you all!
I do not have adequate words to say thank you enough to these people who obviously care about more than I can really comprehend. I am blessed to be surrounded by people who allow me to be me all the time. What an amazing gift that I hope I never take for granted. I definitely didn’t know 8 years ago upon naming this Avalon to create a space of being that it was exactly what it would become that very sanctuary space for me in the hardest time of my life.
I love you Avalonians. Thank you for this Christmas gift and for the gift you are for me every single day.