I think it was this drawing of mine that brought up her gentle story, as a former co-worker and I sat beside it in the bookstore yesterday, catching up over tea. The room, overflowing with customers when we first arrived, of a sudden transformed to quiet while fingers of light moved in from windows and across tables….the hum of a laptop and clicking of its user across the way our only accompaniment.
“I love to visit a nearby stable whenever I can,” she opened, her eyes suddenly misting over as if she were far off, her voice softening. “There’s such a sense of beauty and light and peace there…”
She pictured the scene, like a film for me. Horses nudging their long faces out of stall windows, eagerly anticipating the carrots laid out on her palm and extended just to them. Sunlight wafting in and lighting up dust motes dancing through the stall, back to front. These majestic animals neighing and tossing their heads and nuzzling up to her, delighted in her companionship. How her husband had confessed a late in life fear he’d seemed to develop over them but how he’d been thinking how he’d like to get back to riding and conquer that fear. How she’d told him he needed to bond with some horses first, let them get the feel of him…and he of them…before attempting to straddle after many years. How they’d taken bags of carrots together one afternoon and she’d laughed so heartily when in fear he jerked his hand away from the horse’s mouth and caused the horse to jerk back just as fearfully. Until she’d shown him how to lay his palm flat, offer up his carrot.
“I can just feel his soft lips and the way he sucks in the carrot!” her husband had marveled when he finally got the knack. “I can do this!”
I grinned at that picture. “I didn’t know you loved horses,” I said.
“Yes, I used to ride all the time, growing up,” she confided.
That’s when she shared the most endearing moments of her “horse visits.”
“After I just spend time talking with them and offer them the carrots, something wonderful happens,” she said. “The whole time I’m there, they are moving and engaging with me, but just before I leave I always like to stop and pray for them, for the farm and stables and people coming there. I say, ‘Okay fellas, now we’re gonna pray…’ and suddenly, all goes quiet. They just stop and look me in the eye solemnly, completely unmoving, as if they actually know what I’m saying. It’s wondrous, really.”
She paused as we both sipped our tea, that lovely picture settling over both of us, like God’s cloud. I shared how I remembered that feeling with my family dog… how my mom used to pray with individuals who came to share their hearts in our home, and our Sheltie was always right there in the midst, even putting her paw up on Mom’s knees in those times of prayer. I always had that uncanny feeling she knew just what was happening too…
“It’s such a peaceful moment, like His Glory right there with me and those horses,” she enthused. Once she’d confided to the stable owner about how she often prays with the horses before leaving, and the owner told her that she hoped the place would be a haven like that for all who came there… a reason why she had named it Serenity…
Even His creatures know His Presence…
This story and the images it conjures up inside me keep wafting back into my thoughts. Even today, as I sat in a chapel where light streamed in across my neighbor’s casket. Gone too soon at only 71. A kind, gentle man. Someone known for his “quiet strength,” as so many who knew him intimately recounted throughout the service. I think of his calm demeanor, his twinkling smile and simple ways he offered help to me in the few years I’ve known him. How he always waved his “hi” whenever I was walking by… How even while he was fighting for his life he drove me (due to my broken shoulder) to run an errand, the tears I saw shining in his eyes when last I touched his hand and said goodbye, not really anticipating it would be the last…
I think again now of the military guard walking one by one up to the front this morn and slowly, ever so slowly, raising their hands in one final salute. Of all of us standing with our hand over heart as taps were played…
And somehow, that sweet image of God’s Presence making Himself known there in a serene stable moment speaks to me of deeper communion with Him that my neighbor is even now embracing…
And I can’t help but think… O let us look for His Glory in our everyday moments. For there are “cathedrals” in the ordinary that open our eyes to extraordinary… and He has placed them there for our finding.
A lovely Westminster chime echoes just now throughout the library where I’m writing this (alas, my home computer seems to be kaput at the moment), sounding to my ears as chapel bells ringing their call to me… another touch of extraordinary in the ordinary.
© Pam Depoyan
- Pen & Ink Girl and Horse Portrait (For the Love of Glory) shown above: one of my recent works in my Picture it In Pen and Ink gallery — mine, under my copyright (please do not copy without permission. See my copyright info button on the sidebar. )
I’d love to have you click over and view more of my artwork at my new online gallery here: https://pamdepoyanblog.wordpress.com/
- stained glass from stock photos
Sunday Stillness with Janis Cox