Early Tuesday morning as I walked across the yard to see my wife, the “Horse Lady,” off to work, I gazed down the pasture and saw our prize mare, Hailey, lying on her side. The woman who had spent many years with her went to her, brought her in and evaluated it as colic, and quickly tended to her. She gave her some medication and left me with instructions and was off. Colic is one of those things that must be taken very seriously, so I knew my job for the day was to keep Hailey in the barn, walk her around occasionally, and otherwise carry on with my normal chores involving the other horses and animals and our small farm.
Hailey struggled that day and even after the vet came and checked her body from stem to stern late in the day, it was indeed colic and she just hadn’t responded positively to our routine actions. The danger was that if it couldn’t be cleared by a vet house call and our tender loving care, the only other option would be surgery which was no guarantee of success or death. Surgery of that type can be upwards of fifteen thousand and we just couldn't handle it, so we took it upon ourselves to work diligently and, yes, pray that this wonderful horse would be spared.
The “Horse Lady” spent a rather sleepless night, checking on Hailey, trying to give her medicine and keep her hydrated. If you’ve ever heard the old saying, “You can lead a horse to water but you can’t make him drink,” I’ll just say that it is very true. Anything we tried to get her to eat was turned to mash with water and molasses to hopefully increase the appeal, but after about a day and a half it just wasn’t working. And she kept curling her lip and groaning from the tummy ache which colic causes. Should it continue for over two more days we knew we would have to discuss the possibility of having to put her down.
But finally our dedicated efforts, advice from an excellent vet and the intervention by Providence paid off and yesterday she showed signs of feeling better and this morning she ate her morning feed mash with gusto, leaving a fresh pile of healthy horse apples to show for it. Now, in early afternoon on Friday, we anticipate her being ready to go out with her herd (she’s the boss mare) tomorrow. Of course, we’ll still keep her diet very wet for a few days to make sure that her system is back in gear, but barring any other changes, she’s recovering well.
So, why do I write about this? Well, it’s just like I mentioned from the outset, watching a sick animal suffer and trying to help them recover is a great teacher of life. Life is uncertain; we never know when or how it will end and more often than not we try to avoid thinking about that. But if you believe, as I do, that someone much greater than we are is responsible for life itself, facing the reality of death is one way of making us think about what that means to each of us. For life can be both beautiful and ugly, happy and sad, short and long, and many other things, but the only thing we know for sure is that at some point life on this earth will end for all of us. And then what?
Here's the only answer to me that makes sense. If you believe that the Great Creator is Almighty God as I do, He who has instilled us with the free will to make decisions for ourselves, then it follows there must be a grand reason for that. And it follows logically that the purpose of this life is to help us prepare for the next one, an eternal life that will come to those of us who make the right choices. And nowhere can it be realized more clearly to me than at a time like this week, caring for that big beautiful mare, Hailey, and praying that she recovers fully to her energetic and vibrant self. And that, my friends, is what caring for a sick horse much of this week has further enforced in my belief system.
We can believe or not, it is entirely up to each of us, but if we don't, then what comes next? Will it be a black void of nothingness or what? Would the Great Creator, Almighty God, make us in His image so that we could fail to live in that image and cause Him shame and yet still give us a wonderful eternity? I think not.
Enjoy life, live it well but in a godly fashion and pay attention to what nature can teach. It’s truly awesome. And live your life like today is the last day of your life. One day it will be and you’ll be a much better person for having life it the right way. It’s really the only thing of prominence that you will leave behind for others. And as for you at that point. You'll be be basking in the warmth and light of God's love forever.