One glance out the window and I read three bodies like a book. Husband’s confidant and strong, one daughter steady and the other is absolutely distraught looking at our latest mess. Two horses, one running strong and the other one visibly sick. Then there’s me right then and there, having that same conversation with God, thanking him for his very Being in the midst of our complexities which we often bring on ourselves.
I’m holding on thanking him for his Presence with eyes wide open. Telling him once again I don’t understand, I whine a bit but tell him it’s all good. I know there’s good. The ill horse has gotten strangles–horse strep–every horse owner’s nightmare. I continue praying; I’m whispering my story, what’s important to me. It’s that story where my kids grow up with security, free from fear with a happy ending, but once again my heart’s skipped a beat.
The phone conversation repeats in my mind: highly contagious, too late to quarantine the other horse, no medication at this point so we just let it run it’s course. I think some people purchase a horse, put it in a field and it lives there for 25 or so years and then dies. Not our story. Well this is, and as symptomatic as this illness in horses go, it’s upper gland on the side of it’s neck has finally abscessed, split open and is draining white thick fluid like water pouring out of a hose. It’s day three and it is still draining.
Some times all gives way. Life is like that.
This will pass, though things like this tend to trip me. See, I’ve always been a late bloomer. I’ve had a strong faith for so long, but fears and trust issues challenge me periodically. I fall but I always get back up because it’s God that holds my hand and makes me a bit stronger, more focused, determined and growing in peace. I can’t do life without this praying continuously. But kids–kids are a big leap of faith. They are God’s and he’s entrusting them to me for a time, which is a huge responsibility.
So, how do you tell them that life’s slippery and it hurts, that all the while still hope glistens and there is joy if you hold on at the same time. That’s it, I mean, the holding on I must teach them as I learn myself. It’s not the same manner of living I lived just a short few years back; it is new territory. The little one has not had a similar experience as our older children. She’s experienced a lot of failed plans, and seen a lot more pain. She can only remember me sick, she does not remember the secure times, the times filled with spontaneous life and laughter. It some how doesn’t feel fair, her being the most sensitive of the bunch but life is not about being fair. Some days I think she is being prepared for quite a journey and is gathering training and strength to run her own race with resilience and I guess they all are.
I awake to a new day and her crying. She’s responding to being told that she is not to go into the horse area for a few days and that her father will feed and care for her horses. The cries don’t stop from this little one and as certain as I breathe, I knew they would not any time soon. Neither will she accept a hug or any consolation until she’s exhausted herself. My heart twists, as while watching this quiet one on the surface, she is normally doing all she can to please, but at the same time there is this little undertow of current with waves that crash due to her stubborn love. There is a small place that does not go with the flow. She is familiar. I recognize the way she loves and it is relentless, coming from a heart that spills. She’s heart broken down to her toes. She’s in for days stretched out before her of not hugging, touching, or grooming her horses needing all the while to care for them in illness and it’s due to me, her momma. A momma that needs to err on the side of caution due to taking immune-suppressant drugs. This momma hurts for both daughters, feels hope shot so soon in our second try to move on with these horses after the death of our first. Perhaps I am too introspective as my Beloved here motions about finely tuned and taking care of business as normal, sure in the midst of the heart spill. But there is an ache on the way to eventual happiness around the corner again, as this hurt and joy given mingle. I see a "maybe happy ending" out the window now that the little horse is eating it’s grain. It will turn around again. I want to turn around again.
I know that I should not shelter my children and I cannot take away life’s uncertainties. Every day is a precious opportunity to learn together how to accept and live this life. While some times I’m mumbling my words as I go along in prayer and other times in communion within silence, each day is a new story of learning to rest, trust and grasp hold of the abundant life, the one we all have been granted.
Little one finally accepts that hug and holds tight, our tears becoming one stream together. I read her face again and know we will be alright. It takes me a while to get there too, but the verse comes to me without seeking it out: "Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus." (1 Thess. 5:16-18.)