“Your mother died today.”
That was the first thing he said. I laughed, for surely this was a joke. He remained perfectly still, my father, looking down at folded hands. It was not a joke. At that moment, my 8-year-old self became a hollow shell, emptied by shock, and the universe moved in to crush my fragile lining.
Brokenhearted, my Dad took us three kids to a dude ranch—a vacation my mother had planned. We went on trail rides every day, and sang campfire songs every night, but when I was alone in my cot, I cried myself to sleep. On our final day, we went out for a picnic. We rode a windy path to the edge of a golden meadow and paused to capture the view.
ALONE IN MY COT, I CRIED MYSELF TO SLEEP.
"Yee Haw!" Our trail guide kicked his horse to a gallop, and my horse took flight—yes, we flew over the prairie, he and I. I felt the air in his lungs fill me and the rhythm of his hooves in my soul. We melted together—his mane in my fingers became my hand, his neck my neck, his breath my breath.
As we raced across that field, a window to my heart jarred open. Light flooded in and filled me with joy. I felt it rise within me, and the hands of God upon me, holding me steady to take it all in. He came to me at just the right time, and set my mind on what could be, and I knew I was going to be okay.
WHATEVER IS TRUE, WHATEVER IS NOBLE, WHATEVER IS RIGHT, WHATEVER IS PURE, WHATEVER IS LOVELY, WHATEVER IS ADMIRABLE—IF ANYTHING. IS EXCELLENT OR PRAISEWORTHY—THINK ABOUT SUCH THINGS.