When I was in college, my sister was always a beauty queen and won the title of “Teen Queen of Birmingham” and with it fifty dollars. She announced to all of Birmingham in a radio interview that she was giving it to her sister to breed her mare! My mother swooned as that was a definite no-no in those days. Real ladies never mentioned breeding animals! This resulted in my first foal born while I was a freshman at the University of Alabama. Soon another foal was on its way and I left school to support my growing herd of horses before my father found out. But, that was years before John and I moved our family of four children to the country.
Blanchita was Mailee Dare’s first foal and my first since those college days. Blanchita’s short life was a beginning study for our family in producing and raising colts. She also was God’s tool for teaching us the first lesson in meeting life’s most profound moments. We gave her to Mike as a yearling to be his to train and ride, since he had outgrown Snowfire, the grey welsh pony he had trained and ridden to an unending list of championships for fifty inch ponies. When Blanchita was two years old, Mike began her training. Two days after he began riding her, she escaped from her stall during the night. She pawed at the steel gates across the hall of the barn and caught her leg in one. The gate, still caught on her leg, came off its hinges and the frightened filly bolted. John and I awoke to the dreadful noise of pounding hooves and the dragging and clanging of metal. Right outside my bedroom window the frantic bedlam came suddenly to an end, and the resulting quiet was interrupted by a pitiful bleat.
Our hearts were pounding with fright as we raced outside and found the filly standing on three legs, her right, foreleg dangling from her body. Her eyes begged us for help. I held her mangled leg as she stood trembling and sweating while John ran for a gun. We knew there was nothing else to be done but end her agony. The sound of the rifle shot waked the children and my heart died as Mike screamed from his window, “You’re killing my horse! You’re killing my horse!” The first bullet missed its mark. I’ll never forget the bewildered look of the filly as the ones she had turned to for help offered her nothing but more pain. The second bullet ended her pain.
As the young mare’s body crumpled to the ground and my young son’s cries eased, my heart was breaking. I screamed to the sky, “Why, God? Why? How could you allow such agony of body and soul? Why? Oh, why?” My heart screamed! How could this be allowed by the God I loved so much? I hurled my question to the Universe. My body convulsed with the horror of this event.
And then it was as if the still of night wrapped its arms around me. There was an embrace of love, more tender and more comforting than my own mother’s arms when she had soothed away my childhood misery. A still, small voice spoke to my heart; although to me it came from all outdoors: “This is My responsibility, not yours. All this pain, this seeming betrayal of love. This anguish of heart in man and child and beast. You have the cross to prove my love. Look at the cross! Look at the cross and that is where you will see me as I am. The rest is my responsibility. Trust Me!”
The stars looked friendly again that warm summer night, with the smell of honeysuckle heavy in the air. Soon after, Mike went peacefully off to bed. As I will never forget the pain of that night, so I will never forget the tremendous reality of that answer. There is so much I can’t understand, but all that is God’s responsibility. I have the cross of my Lord Jesus Christ as the pledge of God’s love. The cross is indeed the focus point of all history and all of history is measured by it. All other things become shadows in the light of its majesty. Sometime, somehow, all that we don’t understand will be brought into focus in the light of that Eternal Love who rules the universe. My part is only to look at this great love revealed in the cross. That is where you will find me.