Friday, May 14, 2010
The one who asks, will always receive; the one who is searching will always find, and the door is opened to the person who knocks.—Luke 11:10
Alright, alright, I can see I have to get this show on the road and tell you what happened.
Mr. Hart gave me the horse. That’s right. Gave him to me. For nothing. A ten thousand dollar horse. Who does that? Yeah, people give horses away. I have given horses away. But it’s usually because they have a problem or the owner has a problem. Not for no reason. Old horses. Rescue horses. Rogue horses. Not valuable horses who would incite a bidding war if put up for auction. I couldn’t believe it. I felt like God was giving me this horse because of everything I’d been through and now this, the worst of all, with my mother. Not that any horse could take the place of my mother. I would go out there and shoot them all in the heads myself if it would bring my mother back for just one hour.
But the joy I felt… How can you feel such joy and sadness at the same time? The joy doesn’t take the sadness away, but it lessens the load a little. It gives you a rest from the sadness. And not just because I got the horse and could have fun with him. Yes, there is great joy in that. But also because someone, some stranger, could be this kind. The idea of it! How could a stranger be this kind? Every time I thought about what this man was doing for me, my heart welled up.
The timing couldn’t have been better. When Mr. Hart told me to come and get the horse, I happened to be planning to go and visit my mother but was considering postponing it because I wasn’t feeling well and didn’t want to drive that far by myself. No biggie. I’d been back and forth to Jersey a number of times since she got sick. I could wait another week or two to go up there. But I was afraid Mr. Hart was going to change his mind and not give me the horse. People at the stable, his friends, people who knew Lowdown, were up-in-arms that he refused to sell him to them and I was scared they would work on him and get him to change his mind before I got there. So I went right away, driving ten hours by myself pulling the horse trailer, sick as a dog, with irritable bladder and an inability to back up and therefore terrible anxiety about getting myself into a predicament where I would need to. It wasn’t pretty.
Oh! If I would have waited one more week to go up there it would have been too late! All these years trying to find the horse, crying over him, and his owner tells me to come and get him during the last week my mother had any lucidity. If I would have waited one week longer, just one week, she would have never known I was there. But she knew. I stared into the bluest, saddest eyes I had ever seen, took her beautiful face in my hands and she said my name.
“Debi, Debi, I love you so much.”
“I love you too Ma. I’m here.”
I sang to her. I sang a song she used to sing to my daughters. “You Are My Sunshine.” I sang it softly and didn’t care if the nurses could hear and didn’t know if she could hear, even though her eyes were open. She was in such agony… When I stopped, there was silence. And then she said, amazed, “You hear that?” Like she couldn’t believe it. Like it was an apparition.
And she cried to me. Oh, the suffering! If only we knew what she was going to go through… It is barbaric. It is unbearable when I think about it. You know what, I can’t even talk about it now. I am too sad. I often have to distract myself or else I can’t take it.
So let me get on to something good.
I was surprised when Mr. Hart didn’t ask me to sign anything when I took the horse. No contract to return him if I didn’t want him anymore, no agreement to keep him forever, no promise to send money if I ever hit the lottery. Nothing. Nada. He gave him to me free and clear. I didn’t expect to get the registration papers. But he gave me those too. I recognized Lowdown’s baby picture stapled to the top of the document a little dog-eared around the corners now but just as cute as ever. I figured, well, he won’t include the transfer report. If he includes the transfer report, I can reregister Lowdown in my name and if I was a bad person, I could turn right around and sell him.
When I got home and was going through all the paperwork, I saw that I was right. No transfer report. But that was because I didn’t need one. The registration papers were still in my name! There it was—Owner: Debra Van Cleave! Mr. Hart never changed him over! All these years he was still mine in my heart—I had no idea he was still mine on the papers too.
What amazes me is that Mr. Hart completely trusts me. He doesn’t even know me and yet somehow he can tell what kind of person I am. I don’t know why. Maybe it’s because when I sold him Lowdown seven years ago, I attached a note to his papers saying that if he was ever three-legged lame or old and broken-down and unwanted, please don’t send him to the sale—he would always have a home with me. Maybe it is because I tried to keep in touch with them from the beginning. Or maybe God whispered in his ear. I don’t know.
What I do know is when I look at that horse out there now, I think of my mother. And I feel good.
It has become clear.