Last May, I shared about the passing of my friend and neighbor, Sarah.
But one thing I didn't tell you in that story was my last "conversation" with Sarah before she died.
Just days before, she sent me several messages through twitter (of all places) curious to know if we had any interest in her pony, Ariel.
If you've been reading this blog long enough, you'll know that my daughter Emma is a horse girl. From her depths, the girl loves horses. Childhood "passions" come and go, but Emma's love of horses has only grown deeper roots in her little heart.
She has been riding and taking lessons since we moved back to Maryland. I watch this video of her, four years ago and I am reminded that she has been waiting for "a pony of her own" for quite a long time.
But a pony is no small commitment. If I had a dollar for every time I answered the question, "When do you think I'll be ready for a pony of my own?", I'd have enough dollars for seven ponies by now. Aside from being old enough for a pony, or having enough know-how, the big, glaring issue was right outside my kitchen window.
A farm with no fencing.
You can ask any of my close friends to know that I've been trying to figure out ways to get this little farm of ours started, to find the money in our squeezed-tight budget for fencing. (It is SO expensive!) Should I do something on kickstarter? Should I get a job? Should I make stuff and sell it on etsy?
Meanwhile, I'm telling my anxious daughter that some day the time will be right. Pray, I say. God knows your heart. And He already knows the perfect pony for you. And He knows when the time will be right.
I often needed to remind myself of the same things.
When Sarah sent me those series of messages, asking if we were interested, something jumped in my heart.
Little did she know, that many of our errands brought us driving right past her house. That Emma would often get quiet in the back seat, hiding her tears–not just for a pony, but for Ariel. "She's the perfect pony for me. I don't think they have anyone riding her right now. Do you think they'd ever sell her?" And I'd give her my same words of wisdom, which by now she could probably recite to me by heart. Pray. Wait. When the time is right….
That morning, when Sarah asked me, I immediately got on the phone with Dan. Teary, nervous. I had no idea that Sarah was just days from the end of her fight, but I knew this was one of those things she needed to settle.
Dan simply said, "Tell her yes. We'll just have to figure the rest out."
We didn't tell Emma anything. The heartbreak if anything fell through would have been horrible.
The man who owns the barn where Emma has been riding for the last several years said to bring Ariel there. She could stay until we were ready. For free. A gift.
But for a handful, Emma spent every morning this summer at the barn–taking care of Ariel, learning from the wonderful people who work and board their horses there, from my stepmother, who has taught her everything she knows.
Eventually, with all this planning and fussing, she began to put the pieces together.
"Is Ariel going to be mine?"
Finally, last week, in the middle of the aftermath of Hurricane Irene, Ariel arrived home.
By perfect timing (and God'd faithfulness to Emma's prayers, I believe) we found the funds for fencing. While we were in Virginia, a team of Amishmen descended on our farm and installed it.
Everything has come together. The timing is finally right.
And there, in the midst of the sorrow of losing Sarah, is the big, bright glow of joy. She's sitting bareback on a pony grazing in my back yard.