So we took the mare back yesterday.
And it about broke all of our hearts.
For a moment…for a week…it felt like maybe she belonged here. Like maybe her person would see that too. But instead, we could only fix up her feet some, braid her mane and tail, have our doc take a look at her, and love her.
We loved her while she was here.
Because as my husband said, when there’s a critter in our care, we do all we can. And even though she was loved here and practically the whole neighborhood came together to escort her back home… …sometimes all we can… just doesn’t feel like enough.
When the feeling of sickness in my gut rose up into my heart and pushed tears straight on out my eyes, they brought a strange new emotion. A helpless sense of having to let go. Letting go of something that could be part of your life…for all of its life…for all of your life…but knowing that for right now, for this time…it can’t be. Sometimes there just has to be a letting go.
I learned it’s so hard. It hurts.
So today, this day when we celebrate dads and grandpas and menfolk that love, …I’m thankful that these two don’t let go. The one the Father above gave me here below…the one who loves me…loves these children we made…loves this thing he’s been given, this band of six.
And the One who holds even tighter…the One Almighty. The One, who -no matter who lets go here on earth- won’t.
The LORD Himself goes before you and will be with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you. Deuteronomy 31:8
He knows all about letting go. He wrote the Book on setting a loved one free into a less than perfect environment and He knows heartache and He knows missing them when they’re gone. He knows.
He knows. And on the way home from church…on the way home from sinking deep into the knowing that He knows and that there are men who are blessed and one of them is mine, we counted how long it was since his own father’s been gone.
Sixteen years too long without knowing these four or meeting great-grandchildren or seeing two of his own daughters’ sons serve this country like he did.
But something marvelous…when we pulled in the driveway, there was his tree, all a’bloom.
Since having to dig up the memory garden so many years ago and plunking his twisty, gnarled-up little willow tree that reminds me of his toughness right on top of a grassy mound…we haven’t seen any flowers. I’d look at it sitting there each summer…just waiting for me to find the perfect spot so it could remind us.
Remind us to remember those we loved because someday we’re going to have to let go of them.
Babies or breastfeeding or crazy little farms kept me from replanting it all this time, but then today…
… and one day…
…all we see are the flowers.
We see the pain but the pain brings a beauty and pretty soon they blend together and it’s all just beautiful and our hearts are soft with it all.
Last night after the mare, -my eyes still puffy from the tears that surprised me- my boy found a baby robin. He and his siblings showed me a dead mama robin they’d found two days before and they wanted to bring the baby in, because what if that’s the baby’s mama, Mama?
I looked at the red breast, beautiful but lifeless there in our woods, and I looked at the baby, yellow beak opening to the sky, and I listened to the wind. I looked to the treetops and I searched the sky. Maybe it was a different mama bird lying there?
And if the Almighty knows when a sparrow falls to the ground, won’t He also have His eye on a baby robin?
A sorrel mare?
I heard birds flitting in the trees and we identified the calls. Chickadee…Jay… wings flitted in the summer evening.
There! There’s a robin call and maybe just a glint of orange through the green of the spruce.
I had them test the grip of the baby bird. She could wrap her feet around my son’s finger. The experts said that means she’ll fly.
We chased off the cats and I had my son set her in a tree.
We let the baby go.
My heart couldn’t take much more letting go and this blessed man I’ve been given, he tells me I love the heart God put in you and you are fearfully and wonderfully made.
We have to hold them while they’re here.
We have to love them while they’re with us.
We have to show them they’re valuable…that they’re cherished…that they’re of great worth and great beauty.
We have to hold tight and sometimes we forget but let’s not forget any more but instead remember to love all-out every moment we have a kid or a critter or a friend or a neighbor or a spouse or a parent or a sparrow in our care. And then someday…
…because they never really belonged to us…
…they’ll be escorted Home…
Happy Father’s Day to you who are dads. Your strength is great and your job is immense.
He is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither. Psalm 1
When have you had to let go? How did your husband…or your father…or our Heavenly father…help you through the process?