Getting Through the Changes
By Betsy Kelleher
What does one write about when one has done nothing worth writing about for several months? I can only share what I know and sometimes that isn’t much. Right now, it’s all about changes.
Sometimes I think I’ve lost my passion for horses. What? Is that possible? I’ve been around horses all my life! What would I do without a horse? And could I possibly find a new home good enough for my Lady? Ten years ago, after Russ bought her for himself and didn’t like her headstrong ways, we traded her off. But two weeks later, we drove back to Kentucky to get her back, for me. In spite of her Alpha Mare personality, I found myself in love with Walker’s Velvet Queen (her registered name). Last year was our best year ever in some ways, as I slowly developed more courage to ride out alone through the woods and around the area behind the stable. Since my husband no longer rides, it’s just not the same anymore.
It didn’t help when I injured my left wrist last fall emptying a full muck bucket into the manure spreader. It was painful to lift a saddle or to pick up Lady’s feet to clean her hooves. Simple things like fastening a seat belt demanded great care to avoid the pain. Our doctor named it: De Quervain’s Tendosynovitis. I did everything I could to aid healing. Six months after the initial pain, I see improvement, but I still have to be very careful. I haven’t ridden for three months, and Lady is getting very basic daily care plus a pat and a mint with her supper. Working in a self care stable in the winter is discouraging when everything seems to be a difficult effort, especially with the extra snow and ice and cold that we’ve had this past season! Sorry to be a whiner.
In late January, I got an email telling me the publisher of my first book, Sometimes a Woman Needs a Horse, had gone out of business. That notice opened the door to a world of frustrating discoveries. I had been enjoying my royalty checks—getting smaller each time which I expected after ten years—and I liked the publisher’s website reporting of monthly sales plus all sorts of good information for authors. I had been very happy with their service, even though I had no idea what the company was going through! And suddenly, my book was no longer available and I had a lot of decisions to make! Should I let the book die a natural death, or should I find a new publisher to keep it going? If that sounds like a simple decision, well—its not!
After weeks of frustration and soul-searching, I finally saw new opportunity in this situation. I remembered why I wrote the book in the first place, and I chose to keep it alive for a few more years. So as I finish this column, I have signed up with the same publisher that did my second book, MARES! (ya gotta love em), and now comes all the detail work. Perhaps by next month, I can announce the book is available again! It isn’t as exciting as when that book was first published, but I still believe in the book’s message.
Meanwhile, my next project is on hold. I began writing my “spiritual memoir” several years ago, hoping my son Bob could read it, even though I knew his time was limited. At his memorial service, just one year ago, I realized Bob didn’t need to read my words to find his place of knowing. I’m the one now searching for that place, still having trouble writing that chapter sharing how God comforted my loss.
Change can be depressing. I have shared with fellow authors about our publisher’s abrupt ending, and one mentioned how this situation is similar to grief. Sometimes we find ourselves staring at the wall, wondering what to do, feeling very little energy to do whatever it is we should be doing, sometimes angry, sometimes anxious, spinning our wheels doing nothing important. And then we encourage each other, as Christians should, with Romans 8:28: “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose.” I have received emails from readers of my book, those He has led to find it, that God has used it to encourage. And if God is working, then I should let Him do that. As I sense His guidance, I should trust and obey. Throughout this whole situation, I have felt an urging to remember Psalm 46:10, to “Cease striving and know that I am God.” To cease striving means to be still, to relax, to rest in His Presence. And then I look at the way I am struggling to figure it out, rushing around doing nothing, while I should be sitting at His feet, soaking up His Word.
After reading a certain devotional awhile back, I have been reminding myself each day that “God is within me, God is in control, and God will work things out according to His will.” Even though I may no longer be riding, even though changes come in life, even though I go through periods of grief or loss or discouragement or excitement or whatever else comes, God is there. He is Something to hold onto, Someone to help me through it. I’ve heard people say Christianity is just a crutch. But we often need a crutch when we cannot walk on our own. He is so much more than a wooden crutch. He is a Savior and Friend, a Provider and Guide. He is everything we need, when He is Lord of our lives.
Yesterday was a stormy, rainy day, so Lady was in her stall. I took advantage of that, and I rode for the first time in three months, and it was good!
(Originally published in the March 2014 issue of the Illinois Horse Network)