To everything there is a season…..Ecclesiastes 3
This has been a devastating and crushing week for the Texas Panhandle. The fires of Monday feel a lifetime ago. Today dawned appropriately gray and windy. Yesterday was a glorious, blue-sky, sound-the-trumpets kind of day and it felt like a mocking slap after the glum news of the week. How could the day of the first funeral of one of our beloved fire victims be so glorious after the relentless winds and scorching heat of Monday? Joke’s on us, I guess. This feels like a mourning day to me.
Had to put down the grandkid’s pony yesterday. Peanut had a condition affecting her feet and I watched her be dead-lame for over a week. As a conscientious caregiver of animals, it was my responsibility and my call to make. No one else could make the decision for me. On Wednesday night, I knew it was time. My bedrock Sprout #1 helped me with all the details. I love him for dealing with me through this. I know….I know, it’s not a huge deal in the scheme of things and especially in the context of the tremendous losses this week. It’s just a tiny drop of sadness in a river of grief. I realize that. I’m glad God made a mini paint horse named Peanut who delighted in all the littles. So, I’m taking today to let my tiny grief-drop flow to the ocean.
Many of you know I’ve been dealing with a giant mound of health issues in the last few years. I don’t have cancer….and boy am I grateful!….but I’ve had repeated issues of one form or another. I’ve felt crazy, morally and physically weak, exhausted and confused. Just when it seemed I stomped out one health fire, another would flare-up and char my resolve. Oh…and I’ve visited doctors and specialists from all over the state of Texas. I’m grateful for physicians too, even though they can be infuriating. My medicine cabinet is stuffed and overflowing with the drugs and supplements supposedly helping me. Yesterday after visiting with my rheumatologist, I finally have a name for what ails me. Maybe I’m not crazy after all? I won’t say the name of it….you’ve probably never heard of it. It’s an auto-immune disease. My confused immune system is loaded with ballistic missiles and targeting healthy areas of my body for battle. My favorite celebrity sports hero now is Venus Williams because she has this disease, as well. Looks like she’s doing pretty great lately, doesn’t it? Gives me hope. So today since it’s okay to mourn a little, I’m taking the time to grieve the loss of the person who didn’t have to take multitudinous pills. The redhead with endless energy whose joints didn’t ache. She was cool and I miss her today. I’ll empty my coffee cup of sadness into the river and let it unite with the Peanut-drop.
The Panhandle of Texas is a flighty and sometimes cruel mistress. We suffer under the illusion we’ve tamed her. The events of this week prove otherwise. All of us in agriculture/ranching realize those who perished could be our sons, daughters, fathers, mothers….you name it. We know the reality of caring for livestock, of diving in head first to help our neighbor and the price of replacing burnt fence. We choose to live here. We’re the insanely hardy offspring of the Dustbowlers! We’re certain better days are ahead. The rains will fall, the grass will sprout, the wind will settle and the content momma cows will have lots of babies. This attitude is embedded in our DNA.
Today I’m allowing myself to shake my fist at the sky, to curse the wind and crumble to my knees and ask why so many animals and salt-of-the-earth people must suffer. Why children must grow up without a daddy, or why parents have to bury their children. It’s my designated sorrow-day, so I’ll take my biggest soup-pot of grief and tears for all of this ridiculous suffering and stir it a bit. When it feels right, I’m pouring it in with the Peanut-drop and the coffee cup of sadness and watching it bob and swirl away.
It’s okay. It’s our crying time and we’ve earned it. Don’t worry, we won’t camp there. We know better. I’m inviting God into our ashy brokenness. He’s already here with us anyway. If I see you out and about today, don’t hide your watery eyes. Mine feel watery, too.
Strong Panhandle-love to all.