Thursday, March 10, 2016

"I knew I loved you before I met you…"

"I knew I loved
before I met you.
I think I dreamed you
into life…"

Savage Garden's, "I Knew I Loved You," keynotes this post. It perfectly evokes the way I have felt every day since she cantered into my heart, and then off to a place I could not follow.

It's been over a month since I stood in the bathroom of our Sunday School, hoping to take a quick call before opening exercises and heard the words, "Your horse, she's just gone." I didn't have time to process what I was hearing. I just thanked the caller -- who was herself crying -- and walked back in to join my class for the opening hymn.

When it finally hit me, it hit so hard I thought I would shatter into a million tiny bits of hurt. I have struggled with missing her every second of every day since them. If I allowed myself to even consider what it means that she is not here, I am a mess. I know she is fine. I know that her life is eternal. I know that I have been blessed by every second that she has lived in my heart as a promise kept. But I have been sad. Deeply, profoundly, heart-achingly sad.

And it hasn't gotten much better, or eased up with weeks of prayer and spiritual reasoning. It has only become more profound -- not the grief, but the love.

You see, she was all my childhood dreams come true. And when she came along - all 14.2 hands of soft tan coat, black mane, forelock and tail -- it was as if God was saying to me, "See sweetie, all you needed, was to be patient. I heard your cry, I knew your heart, I've always loved you -- and I knew your dream." It was as if God was giving me back a childhood I never had.

I was like a girl for those months -- waiting for her to come home from where she was wintering in a southern Colorado pasture.  Letting her spend those months pasturing in a more temperate climate, had felt like a sacrifice.  But I knew I could wait to be with her, if it meant that she could avoid the harsh winter temperatures of our higher elevation mountain valley.

I had saved my pennies, nickels, dimes, and dollars to buy my own horse. I had named her, loved her, dreamed of our first night in the personal pen together -- where I would defend her right to join the rest of the herd. I dreamed of grooming her, saddling her, mounting her, and riding down through the lower 280, then up through the south woods.

I was eager to lift anything heavy I came across -- hoping to build up strength before she arrived so that I could carry her saddle, and heave it onto her back -- in one swoop along with her saddle pads.

She wasn't just a horse. She was everything I thought I'd missed as the little girl.  A little girl who had to prove her right -- every day -- to be sheltered, clothed, and fed. Having my own horse often seemed like a dream too big -- but it was my dream.

There have been days when I haven't known how to move forward. It's one thing to have a dream and wonder if it isn't just a silly girlhood desire.  It's another to have it come true and then have the reins snatched from your hands before you've ever even felt her breath on your cheek or the coarseness of her mane between your fingers.

On difficult days, I miss her so much it feels like a limb has been cut off. I wake up wondering what to do once the blue of dawn has colored the sky. My daughters are all grown-up. And they have cares and responsibilities of their own. I love my work with all my being, but that is nothing new -- I have always loved my work. I have never had a reason, beyond my work and my family, to get me out of bed. I am not one of those women who likes to shop, or do yoga, or redecorate, or go to a spa. 

I was looking forward to have someone need me -- rain or shine, snow or sleet. I dreamed of us silently knowing one another's heart. I wanted a soft neck to bury my face in.  A place where I could breathe deeply -- a place to pray, or cry. I wanted a reason to get up and head to the corral in a pair of dirty mucking boots.  I needed to feel my own breath mingling with hers -- enveloping  us in a pre-dawn cold mantle of oneness.

And if there is a spiritual silver lining in this moment, it is this. I have learned that there is no age when it comes to a young girl's dreams.  Especially when it comes to horses -- or dogs.  We never stop loving them, and we never get over our dreams of them. Every tear I have shed, has been a reminder that I am alive, that I love beyond the veil of what I can see. 

 And every time that I remember that I got "this close…" it tells me that the hardships of my childhood and the heartaches of adulthood have done nothing to diminish my capacity to hope. 

 Every single time someone tells me that I need to let go of this "image" of a buckskin mare waiting for me in the pasture -- I want to crawl into a stall and weep for her, for me, for us. I want to tell them that she is as alive and real to me today as she was in my dreams when I was a girl, and as she is in my hopes for tomorrow.

I know that prayer is the only way to navigate finding her again. And even though I am still scouring Craigslist for buckskin mares one minute, the next I am telling myself I need to trust that if she is going to find her way to me again -- that I need to be still and wait for a "miracle." I go to sleep dreaming of someone seeing a little buckskin mare in a pasture, and thinking of me.

I know, I know -- it sounds ridiculous, and silly, and more than one person has told me that we only get one perfect horse miracle. But the heart doesn't know how to stop dreaming, how to stop hoping, how to stop weeping.

I can't help but share this recording of Amy Grant's, "Better Than a Hallelujah," in closing. I don't have answers. But I do know that I trust that God accepts "the honest cries of breaking hearts." So, I bring Him my tears. I bring Him my humble hopes. I bring Him my broken heart. I bring Him all that I am, and all that I will ever be. He is at the core of my desire to love, and give, and hope. I trust this.

Since writing this post I have experienced so many ways that my love for horses is being realized every day.  The sorrow is gone.  Rather than searching for "my horse," I am letting myself love every horse that comes through my life with the same devotion and joy that I once thought I was saving for "her."

offered with Love,


No comments:

Post a Comment