A couple of recent experiences brought this saying to my mind: You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink.

According to information found on websites, this adage is said to have originated in the 12th Century, having first been found in Old English Homilies, a volume dated 1175 A.D. The claim is that this is the only English saying to be in continuous use for this long a period. The original proverb was written as Who can give water to the horse that will not drink of its own accord?

So what does this have to do with spirituality? Why am I bringing it up here? I’m truly impressed by how many times this idea can be applied to situations in life and have no doubt that this versatility is the primary reason this saying has survived so long. It’s not just for horses and ranchers.

You can send a child to school, but you can’t make him/her learn. You can do an excellent job at work, but your employer doesn’t have to keep you employed or give you a raise. You can plan meetings and events of the highest quality or the most engaging, but attendance can still be low. You can offer classes that will change lives, but some people just aren’t ready consciously or spiritually for that journey.

But you can still lead. You can still do your best. You can still offer the highest quality products and services that you know how to do. You can be available to teach those who are willing…and that is where your focus needs to be – on the gifts you’re willing to share and with those who are open to receiving the experience.

If your focus and concern is only for the ones who are missing out or not in attendance, then you do not serve those right in front of you or yourself. Not everyone moves through life or their spiritual path at the same pace or with the same interest or intensity. Not everyone wants what you have to offer. That’s just how it is. Offering your gifts is what’s important. Doing the best you know how to do is what brings satisfaction. Gratitude for what is already in your life keeps you in the now moment and satisfies the soul.

You can complain to God all you want, but you are loved anyway!

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