Giving Back by Terra Schaad

Terra Schaad

Last year, Hunkapi Programs Inc celebrated our twelfth year of Christmas Day at the Farm. It was a tradition my brother and I started when we decided to give back on Christmas Day by taking some horses to a homeless shelter. We waited outside the windows for them to wake up to horses in their back yard. I have always felt horses were the greatest gift given to me and, because of that, my life has been about paying that forward.

Over the years, the program has grown and this past Christmas over 175 volunteers showed up at our farm to give love and horses to forty children without homes. It’s magical, and each year I leave the event feeling like I received more than I gave. It’s humbling to be a part of a growing community and consciousness of people who are committed to giving back. Even more brilliant is being part of a collective conscious of giving and receiving and to fully feel, somatically, the importance of giving and receiving love in equal proportions. Always is the case that in the act of giving, I receive a lesson of how I can learn to receive more, and so it was with one particular little girl last Christmas Day at our farm.

Because of this mini-human, I’m dedicating this year to hugging with my whole heart. Those half-hearted, lean in part way, pat you on the back hugs with even a subtle resistance to fully melting in just won’t do.

Christmas Day, she got off the van crying from the Crisis Center tearfully expressing that she wanted her mommy. My co-worker met her and asked if she wanted to be held. “Yes,” she replied as she raised her arms and leapt.

When I found her in line to ride, she was tearful and scared again, saying the horses were too big. I asked if she wanted me to go with her. Once again, she replied, “yes” and held out her little hand. Hand in hand, we walked towards Magic and as I placed her atop his back her tears dried up and her face lit up smiling. Seemingly joyous and relaxed I asked if she still wanted me to go or if she’d like to go solo. She emphatically said, “You go with me!”

In between chatting and laughing about carrot trees and Santa, I realized this mini-human, whose little life has been laced with trauma, was choosing love over fear. That day, she chose to say yes, to open her arms and climb up and embrace fully, even when she has every excuse to freeze in fear.

There’s a lot to learn from mini-humans and the way they love. I’m starting with climbing up and whole-hearted hugs. We have this one life to love fully and to be of benefit to others.

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