When I caught the man I was married to red-handed with another woman, the same man who had put me through an emotional hell for over eight months of quickly failed marriage, I spent many days wondering how I would put one foot in front of the other. I wondered how I would keep my calm when a storm was raging inside of me…how I could be the best mom ever to my little girl when I really wished I could crawl into a hole. Many days I wondered…I cried…I begged for God’s mercy.
Part of my journey was buying the home I’m in now (The Yellow Submarine). Living in a community blended with ocean air and mountainesce (Is that a word? No, probably not, but that’s okay…it’s my blog…) scenery, it didn’t take me long to realize that I had bought a place smack dab in the middle of horse country on the Central Coast of California. And, it also didn’t take me long to begin to find a way for Maycee and I to explore together my own secret dream of learning to ride horses, learning about horses, eating, breathing, and sleeping horses (laying it on thick, but it’s become so true!). I needed to find hope again, to believe that everything I had gone through brought me to a better place and a new purpose, although on the surface it felt like a catastrophe.
I searched on-line for a horse trainer, and luckily found one who was willing to work with my weekend-only schedule. The ranch setting allowed me to breathe. I found that no matter what was going on around me or inside of me that just being near the horses gave me peace. Petting their soft coats, rubbing their noses, leading them down a path, and of course mounting up and taking a stroll inside the arena sent me to another dimension: Serenity. And, Maycee, well, she took to Mama’s dream like glue. We healed (and are still healing), and life in our new dwelling space began to settle down. Awaiting our next lesson gave us a place to focus our energies outside of all the turmoil that had happened and continue to happen as the adjustment period ensued.
Earlier this year, just at the beginning of summer, Maycee and I began wanting more “horsey time”. The hour-long lessons, sometimes interrupted due to Maycee’s every-other-weekend schedule with her dad, just weren’t enough. So, I began looking up horse rescues in the local area hoping we could find a place to volunteer. What I found was no ordinary horse rescue, but a horse sanctuary, and not just for the horses themselves. Heaven Can Wait-San Miguel, is a truly unique place in that the founder, Susan Schwartz, doesn’t just rescue horses and other equines, she gives them a forever home…her home. They don’t get farmed out to prospective buyers, tested to see if they’re a good fit for a family, they find their family in her and the people who come to volunteer and visit. The state she finds these rescues in unspeakable…emaciated, starving, lame, and more. Susan provides all of the veterinary care, feeding, and attention they need to recover and become healthy once again. To see the rescues now is to see nothing short of total transformation and inspiration.
Maycee and I went there for the first time during our camping trip back in July. We arrived and once behind the gate were greeted by the most amazing animals. Some are gentle giants, the statuesque (this is a word, for sure) thoroughbreds, some are cute and cuddly little ponies or miniature donkeys. But, each and every one roams free around the property, and when you’re there, you become part of the family, too. I was brought to tears just talking with Susan about how much learning about horses and being around them has done for me and Maycee. And, now, here we were at a sanctuary to rise above all sanctuaries. To walk amongst these calming spirits, to groom them, pet them, talk with them, and love them warmed my heart and made me smile. In a way, I was a rescue, just like them.
Since visiting Heaven Can Wait-San Miguel, I’ve tried volunteer up there at least a couple of times a month. I drive almost a full hour to get there one way. Believe me, it’s worth it. I’ve ridden one of the rescue horses, Red, who was such a sweet ride that I can’t wait for the heat to subside so I can ride him again (it gets up into the 100’s during the day in the San Miguel summers), I’ve helped Susan treat wounds, learned about proper techniques for handling horses, and I now try to go up to help feed the 27 equines she houses on my free Saturdays. Maycee has also volunteered, grooming the horses, ponies, and donkeys, helping feed, and she and her buddy sold homemade lemonade (by yours truly) to help raise a little money for donation…almost $40! Not bad for two hours in the car port!
Heaven Can Wait-San Miguel needs funding desperately. This is the reason I’m sharing my story with you. Not only do the horses have the best place on earth to live, but their presence, their existence helps so many others. From autistic children, to cancer patients, to Vietnam Veterans, to single working moms like me, Heaven Can Wait provides a sanctuary that is Heaven on Earth. Please, please click on the links I’ve provided to view a local news article by KSBY.com, http://www.ksby.com/news/the-bonds-of-friendship-one-more-reason-why-heaven-can-wait/ that was done recently show-casing the special needs kids Susan hosts, and also view Heaven Can Wait’s web site: www.heavencanwait.us. If any of you, my dear Readers, feel compelled to make a donation to this place that brings so much joy and life to its community (even though it may not be your own), if any of you know of people who may be able to help out in any way, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Whether you are a “horse person” or not, there is no doubting that places such as these save lives, both animal and human, but more than that, they give us hope to keep on keepin’ on…
Blessings and thank you’s with every bit of my heart.