Many of you who have been at Salem for a few years may know that I am a horse person. I had a horse, Indy, who was a big part of my life outside of school. I rode him and drove him hitched to wagons and sleighs. He was a big Shire but he was gentle and trustworthy. On February 2nd I had to put my buddy down because of a sudden intestinal emergency. Standing in the equine clinic, looking into his big brown eyes and hearing the vet say that his kidneys were failing and his heart was being affected made my heart sink. There were really no choices that would reverse this condition. He was dying. I had to make the decision to put him down. I stayed with Indy until the end so he would not be alone with strangers. I said goodbye and took a snip of mane to keep in a shadow box with his picture. When I left the clinic I felt crushed and strangely isolated. He was my only horse and now he was gone. Was I going to loose my connection to all horse activities? Would I be able to contribute to the horse and carriage club I belonged to? Would I be able to keep in touch with my equine friends and the other horses I have helped train and drive? I felt alone.
Shortly after I lost my big buddy my friend from the farm where I boarded Indy recognized my dilemma. She kindly said she felt like I had become part of their family and I should come out as often as I wanted to and continue to work with the other Shires they owned. They would continue to need help bringing the horses to club events. There would be times when they needed “horse sitters” if they wanted to travel. I began to feel a sense of relief. I was not alone. Perhaps I still had a purpose in the equine world.
Not meaning to sound trite, but this experience, happening at the beginning of Lent, has given me a new perspective on how Jesus’s friends and family may have felt after his crucifixion. This person that meant everything to them and gave purpose and meaning to their lives was suddenly dying before their eyes and there was nothing they could do to reverse it. They must have felt isolated. The focus of their lives was gone. What would they do now?
When God closes a door he opens a window! Alleluia! Christ was raised from the dead and He appeared to his disciples to remind them that they continued to have a purpose in this world. He was sending them out to spread the Word of God to all the world and they would not go out alone. Jesus sent the Holy Spirit to walk with them. Once again they had purpose and direction in their lives. What a wonderful feeling.
We are all part of God’s family. Lent is a time for us to feel sorrowful as we recall Jesus’ death. My recent experience has reminded me of how deep this emotion can be. In contrast, we will come to the resurrection on Easter morning experiencing true joy as we witness Jesus, raised from the dead, giving us hope and purpose for our lives. We are not alone. Jesus wants us to join with others in witnessing to the love of God throughout the world. Thank you, God, for Easter!