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Harriet Ling, LMBT


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Carrboro, NC  27510

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It's About Love

Inspiration comes from the most unexpected places.  I don’t support war, I don’t own a gun, I got behind my kids to help make it clear to the general public that schools can’t make the ASVAB mandatory...  On the other hand, I enjoy shooting guns at targets, and even went dove hunting “successfully” in my younger days.  I’m a damn good shot, a skill that perhaps I inherited from my father, who could toss a dime into the air and shoot it with a BB gun.  I fully embraced the benefits my sons received from their passionate paintball adventures - camaraderie, strategizing skills, male bonding, physical activity, self-confidence, bruises to show off, responsible behavior with a weapon...

And, my heart truly goes out to veterans of war.  They were there because they believed in something so much that they’d die for it.  Or they were there because it was their best chance at an education or a career.  Or they were there because it’s just what is done in their families.  Whatever the reasons, they have made unimaginable sacrifices.  I can’t begin to comprehend what they must live with, in their bodies and in their minds.  They need to be nurtured, healed, loved, because they are our fellow humans.  That is reason enough for me. 

Last year I began working with a nearby horse trainer who earned my complete respect with our very first session.  His quiet ways, his endless patience, his deep understanding put the horse at ease and convinced him to trust, which was the key to our amazingly speedy progress.

A few months into our friendship, Jim began his annual work with two wild mustangs in preparation for the Extreme Mustang Makeover competition to be held in Clemson, SC.  Since the competition was going to be “only” 300 miles away, Jim decided to ride his mustangs, after only three months of training, all the way there.  And he decided to use this journey to raise awareness and money for the Wounded Warrior Project.

The news began to spread, and from the first moment of the ride, photographs began to show up on Facebook.  Many of us were obsessed, waiting for the next picture or bit of news, hour by hour.  We all wanted to be out there with him, and we were all cheering him on from home, from work, from many far away places.  Imagining Jim out there alone with his two mustangs was magical, frightening, exhilarating, and most of all, inspiring.

A day or two into the ride, I was talking with an old friend on the phone about it, and said that somebody needed to be collecting these photographs to make a montage, set to some perfect song, after it was over.  My friend said, “I have to go.  I’ve got a song to write.”  And write it he did.  The next morning there was an email received at 3:38 a.m., that asked, "Is this what you had in mind?"  And “It’s About Love”, by Brian Hilligoss, was born.

When Brian told his friend and business partner the story, the friend was floored that nobody was there filming and photographing the whole process.  So he packed up his gear and drove down from Chicago to document the last several days of the ride.  Fred Blurton had never heard of Jim Thomas, and vice versa, but Jim welcomed Fred and so did everyone who opened their homes to the trainer and the horses.  Fred captured some amazing footage and photos, and headed back to Illinois.  The story continues to unfold, interest has remained high, and yesterday Fred posted his video of Brian’s song and Jim’s journey.

Jim did not set out to inspire strangers from a thousand miles away.  He set out to support a cause he believes in, a cause that I too believe in, now that I know.  I’m still a peace-loving earth-muffin cowgirl, but this story, this song, builds bridges between people who may not otherwise have ever connected.  How could I not be inspired?  It’s definitely about love.

Reader Comments (2)

That video is AWESOME, and Brian's song is perfection!!!

February 9, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterKathy Gray

I agree wholeheartedly!!

February 9, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterHarriet
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