In the beauty, there is death. In the stillness, there is suffering. In the wait, however, there is hope. There is always that.
Because I know there will come a time when this happens no more. When the weather's cycles don't consume. When they don't move in and stay with malicious intent. When I won't be left raw and depleted as a result.
When I can stop caring so much.
I keep telling myself that it's for the best as I continue to watch my animals die. It has to be, since I've asked God to remove this burden of mine, the one I will continue to carry around with me at all times as long as I live here on this farm. The one that can never be set down as long as there is breath left in the lungs of the creatures I care and pray for. The one that keeps me fighting alongside everything that struggles for life.
And that's just it. The struggle. It's so very intense here. The suffering. It's so very real here.
So, I've also told God that I'm out, that I don't want to keep doing this, watching lives under my care wither and pass, straining to see the reasons for it, battling to keep hope alive. I've told him I want no more births on this farm--as wonderful as they've been. When the last animal passes here, I want no more.
This winter...well, this winter, has brought me closer to my goal.
The count is now 11. That's the number of goats that we've lost in the snow and ice and piercing winds. In the barn it's 2. The number of fat, fluffy, healthy cats that have gone too. I even found a chunky, well-fed mouse dead in the snow up by our front gate, far removed from the barn and lurking predators, overcome by winter just like the others. They've had shelter, food, water--water that I've hauled out in buckets and gathered up from the snow to melt in their heated trough, because the spigot is no longer working out by their enclosures. The enclosures that are oh, so much warmer than the barn!
It isn't as though I haven't tried to keep them well! Even as I've been caring for little humans too.
In so many places.
Still. Despite the repetition of it. You'd think I'd be used to it by now.
And so, as I stood at the gate in the bitter wind last week, my own throat too sore to swallow, my lungs limited and scratchy like sandpaper, watching my husband's tractor move away with the body of my white milking goat Petunia, willing my eyes not to fill but allowing them to anyway, I reminded myself, again, that I won't have to do this forever.
Even if I change my mind and decide to keep animals in my life as long as I have mine.
Because one day, all of this misery will end, not just in my little world, but across the planet for good. That will be the day!
And above all, I trust God's plan. I completely trust he will make all of this right.