Monday, February 7, 2011


The dictionary defines the noun form of symbiotic (symbiosis) as: any interdependent or mutually beneficial relationship between two persons, groups, etc.

Now please indulge me as I explain where I’m coming from. I have been reliving some of my more pleasant experiences as a young boy. One of those that came to mind was associated with Dan, our Quarter horse that we used for multiply purposes.

As I thought about my relationship with Dan and his relationship with me, the word “symbiotic” came to my mind. Now call me diluted (ok that’s enough), but the only time I remember hearing that word was on an episode of “Star Trek,” the old television series. I think there was an episode where a new life form was discovered and the whole civilization lived in a "symbitoc relationship." I was not quite sure, but at my gut level I felt that term applied to me and Dan. I came to find that it did.

We were inseparable. I never had one moment when I feared Dan, not that I did not respect him as being much larger and stronger than me, and could hurt me if he so chose. But Dan, I believe, felt as close to me as I to him. Often, I would ride Dan without saddle or bridle. I would put my bare toes on his shoulder blade, grab his mane and swing on his back. I could go anywhere guiding Dan only by his mane. I never tried to take advantage of Dan, and Dan never took advantage of me. Since I did not speak Quarterhorse-ese and Dan did not speak Arkansas hillbilly-ese we just seemed to communicate intuitively and with motions, touches, rubs, and licks (Dan licked me but I did not return the favor). Dan might have plowed in the garden all day, but he never seemed to mind when I got on him for a ride.

Dan was not perfect. He would occasionally have problems with his feet. I often helped my dad put shoes on Dan. I remember asking dad one day as we were shoeing Dan, “Do those nails hurt Dan when you drive them through the shoe and into his hoof?” “Not if you know where to drive them,” was dad’s reply. I was not perfect either. I did not always do a good job of brushing him down or picking the burrs out of his mane. But Dan did not seem to mind. We had an understanding. We were two, but so close we were as one in many ways.

Christ, of course, has no flaws. He understands me completely. I do not always treat Him the way I should. But my goal is to have a symbiotic relationship with Him. Galatians 2:21 says that “We have been crucified with Christ and as believers we died in Him, yet we live, but it is not really we that live, but Christ that lives in us. And the life that we now live here on earth is by the Faith of and in the Son of God, Jesus the Christ, who gave Himself for us and continues to love us.” (My translation)

Friendship is another wonderful application of the relationship Dan and I had. Jesus told his disciples that He would call them friends. It is better to have an enemy than to not have a friend. But to have a friend, we have to be a friend. Friendship takes time to develop. It took Dan and me a while to become symbiotic. The saddest thing I can think of is a husband and wife, living together for years and still not becoming friends. Are you and your spouse friends?

And do you have at least one outside friend that you can really open up to and your friend open up to you … and do so without fear of ridicule or being reported?



Jim said...

You told me when we talked about this blog using the term "symbiotic" that you were searching for an old picture of Dan and you. Obviously, either you had an advanced camera at that young age, or this is not really Dan. I gather the latter. Keep searching for the picture, for I'd like to see it. I've one somewhere of our old plow-horse Dan, which I never rode, but which I did hitch-up and plow. Somehow, we never had the symbiotic develop. I know because sometimes when I'd say HAW, he would GEE. A good horse, but I could not sleep behind that double-shovel or I'd find the garden rows going all over the garden spot. Good blog to apply - thanks. Makes me realize if I really want to plow a straight row in life, I need to give my Lord HIS HEAD every time!

Your Broco Jim

Angie said...

Paddy, you are such a wonderful teacher! It's a talent to be able to teach a good lesson, but it's a gift to be able to show the application in such a personal way.
Thanks for sharing your gift.

Loved this story!
Love you!

Ozark yankee said...

Enjoyed this blog Brother Ray.