It’s amazing what happens when we slow down…and it’s sad what we miss when we don’t. This week we had the task of saying good bye to a beloved equine friend. Up until the point of being at the barn alone I had maintained my composure, not necessarily because I felt I had to, but because I was “on duty” and wanted to be sure the kids had a time and space to spend time with Cohete, love on him and each other in their own ways. It was precious and beautiful amid the ache everyone was feeling.
The hard part to admit is the flatness of emotion I found myself in. It wasn’t until I was in the barn alone, that I found myself sobbing for the four-legged friend I would no longer see on this side of eternity. I had walked Cohete and his two mini friends into the barn and the weight of “lasts” began creeping in. I crouched down to take Cohete’s wraps off his legs and allowed my hands to linger and rub down the area that was now exposed. I felt anger about the disease that was taking his life and prayed for his night to be the best. I also felt joy for the release of any pain and his being set free to run in the Lord’s presence through pastures with Junior and others who went before him. I felt sadness as my heart ached to have more time with him.
Staying was the only thing I wanted to do. Sweet Hannah had brought carrots, apples and peppermint candies Saturday. In the refrigerator were the leftover cut up pieces I knew he would kindly enjoy. Armed with a grooming bucket, the treats and a pocket of tissues I entered my friends stall and spent the next hour or so sharing the treasures and paying attention to all the areas he seemed particularly fond of being scratched. He leaned in and moved according to his preferences and we just were. I shared my heart and simply let sobs and tears flow, perhaps it wasn’t overdue, but it certainly was needed. My heart, my soul and all that I am needed to find and free it all. We are meant to. It is part of both grieving and healing.
I found myself glued to being near Cohete. I stood in the opening of the stall, we were face to face as I continued to rub his forehead and silky brown neck. He raised his chin and gently placed it on my right shoulder. I could feel his breathing and his lips nuzzling through my hair. His eye was locked on my face and all I could say was “thank you”. Behind it was a mountain of gratitude… Thank you for this moment. Thank you for loving so incredibly well. Thank you for being you, exactly as you are.
Eventually I needed to pull myself away…but I was as ready as I would ever be because we will never be completely ready, this isn’t what was meant to be when God created us, but death resulted when sin entered the world and until we go home to be with Jesus, this is our reality, momentary though it may be. I slid the stall gate closed and put the lock peg in its place. Thanked Cohete. Thanked God.
Picking up the grooming bucket and now empty bowl where carrot and apple pieces once were, turned and walked away. Part of me wanted to turn for another look, but I knew Cohete was ok and I knew I would be as well. God promises that as His kid, He will never leave or forsake me. I believed the same for this beautiful boy who would be running with my Lord before I would.
I am so very thankful for the gifts God gives us. They are all around….but we need to slow down and allow them to be in our lives for then we can live in gratitude. Being emotionally flatlined is not living, it is surviving at best. I’m thankful for the flood of emotions that this week has brought, I needed to feel like a human being. It’s been somewhat exhausting, I won’t lie. But it has been incredibly good as well. We need to remember that its good to take our boots off regularly rather than pulling them up by their straps, it’s life giving and even healing.
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