The dark horse


Have you ever felt like a dark horse? You know, the one who falls short alongside the golden beauties running on the inside track. Even after all of the spectators have placed their bets, you’re left wondering if anyone is betting on you.
Decked in bright colors, trained among the best, you’re in the race for the win. Like everyone else, you strain your neck beyond the starting gate, hoping to get a moment’s head start. You hear the gun then bolt like you are running your last race.
But as quickly as the race begins, you find yourself as the dark horse. Unknown, unimportant or even difficult to understand. How is it that the world cannot see you? Why is it that no one is hedging their bets? Perhaps and unless something extraordinary happens, you will never break from the pack, let alone win.
I have heard that a dark horse isn’t considered a dark horse until it becomes prominent in its obscurity. If anything, that has to give us pause to celebrate. While we may find that we are unknown by our abilities, we still have potential to move outside of the pack.
I have run in many races over the years, remembering them all too well. One such contender was “The King’s Choice,” a book I wrote in 1992 on the subject of Song of Solomon. The book had a brief moment of prominence but then found itself sitting idle on a shelf. Years removed, I was asked to lead a weekend campfire devotion for a small group of women. I opted to dust off this book and share a couple of sections with the them.
I began by asking, “Has anyone read the most beautiful yet most misunderstood book in the Bible, Song of Solomon?” One lady immediately said, “Pleeease, I live alone, I don’t need that!”
Yes, by the natural man, Song of Solomon is considered a bit racy, even controversial. In fact, most people don’t seek out this book due to fear, guilt or a lack of understanding. It is the perfect definition of a “dark horse” — something of wonderful imagery and beauty but seemingly hidden from spectator view.
I have taught from Song of Solomon many times over the years. There is a certain excitement that I feel when teaching from the 1,005 songs penned: The Song of Songs, a message of the chosen one!
My book, “The King’s Choice,” is full of passion, purpose and expectancy. I spent a year researching the material and found I loved every word of my study. But things didn’t end up the way I thought they would. There were a number of starts and stops, and I was flooded with different ideas of how to present the material. I have 17 30-minute televised videotape masters sitting on a shelf that bears witness to this.
At one point, I rented a meeting space at a country club in Albuquerque for a live portrayal of “The King’s Choice.” A playbill was placed in everyone’s hand, food covered the tables and music played in the background. Actors and dancers interpreted my dissertation on Song of Solomon while 17 oil paintings acted as a pictorial narration of the beautiful love story.
So, what happened to the dark horse after that night of exquisite artistry? The paintings went back into my studio barn, their golden ornate frames were stripped off and given to other fanciful fillies that could wear their size.
Back to Friday night around the campfire, something out of the ordinary was happening. Electricity jumped off the pages of my book as I shared a story that paralleled the love letter from God. We continued our discussion on Saturday morning until evening, then again on Sunday morning until the whole book had been ravished. The words lit up the hearts of the women. I was dumbfounded. They were grateful. I was in awe. They were hungry to hear and I was overjoyed to share.
The weekend was rewarding. From the discussions, I gleaned more material and knowledge than when I had written the book. I immediately started dreaming how to revise the book and include all the wonderful information that I had acquired from my time with the group.
I was feeding the horse again. My neck was straining and waiting for the gun to sound. I would run the race again on the back of “The King’s Choice.” I would publish another volume, bigger and better. Only this time, I would sweep triumphantly across the finish line.
Final brushstroke: Writers! After a book has been written, it’s not finished. Its story and life have just begun. Don’t shoot the dark horse because there doesn’t seem to be a market. Be open and ready to give your story its own reins, releasing you from obscurity. Yes, even a fine horse needs to walk around a bit and cool down, but in time, you will find how to break from the pack. If God has put a mandate on you to write, you will be in the winner’s circle one day, and we would all be foolish not to place bets on you.
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