There is a real mixture of photos today: cows, ancestors, horses, home, and mom during the hospital years when she was so sick from polio.
Today we gathered together as a family and as a community and said farewell to my Uncle Harvey. He was my mom’s cousin, but in this large, close knit, extended family he was still uncle to me.
I spent hours, days, seasons, riding in the fields on his ranch as a smaller child. It was one of the places where I learned the life lessons of courage and strength that have sustained me so well these past few years as I have been rebuilding a more peaceful and happier soul. My courage and strength were both tested every single time I got on a horse at their place and was pushed to the limit of my fears. I will be forever grateful for the lessons I learned from them.
His sons were talking today at his funeral about uncle Harvey’s own courage and strength and how he taught those around him to be the same by example rather than words. Anyone can say the words to describe the person they want to be, it takes a brave soul to actually live by those words.
Almost 50 years ago there was a prairie fire in the community and everyone had rushed out to help put it out. Uncle Harvey had been away so when he returned home he knew people were working hard to stop the fire. Instead of joining them, he ran to the barn and saddled up his horse. He grabbed his wire cutters and headed flat out into the fury of the fire. He opened gates and cut wires in fences to let the livestock escape the oncoming fire.
They spoke of the kind of man who was both brave and kind enough to run full on into a fire to save the animals. That takes a special kind of individual and one that I am so grateful played such a big role in teaching me about courage and bravery.
My happiness moment ironically came in the middle of the funeral. I was thinking of the gifts that he gave me as a child and how they are gifts I have opened over and over again in my life. There have been so many different people who God has put in my path who have handed me the gifts I needed to carry myself into the next place I wanted to get to. All the emotional craziness of this week has also been a gift. Somehow in the middle of all of it I have settled into a place of spiritual peace that has been missing for quite sometime – and even though I have no idea how it happened, I’m so grateful for that.