I’ve been catching up on sleep these last couple of days in between work and working out.
The last three weeks were a roller coaster of the unexpected whirlwinds of emotions from supporting, listening, decision-making, crying, praying, staying up all hours, and loving someone to their last breath on this earth.
My bestie’s momma had a lifelong passion for horses. Her family was and some still are in the horse business. Red, as we affectionately called her, rode competitively and won lots of ribbons. She loved horses.
When it was apparent Red would not survive the battle with breast cancer this time, and she had surrendered the fight, I was asked to do something very special for her. I was asked to make her urn for the ashes. This isn’t something you get asked every day. I was overwhelmed with emotion and tears, mostly because I knew it was a big job and posed some pressure to get it right on several fronts.
But I have to tell you what happened.
I immediately started researching how to build an urn. How big should it be? What shape? What design?
I found the dimensions required for body weight, and I found lots of ideas, but they all looked the same; honestly cold and boring. I didn’t know what I would do at this point.
I went to Loews and walked the wood aisle. After pacing back and forth, I picked the wood for the box. Then I was led to the trim aisle, the specialty trim pieces, and there it was – the exact pieces I needed to bring Red’s love for horses to light. They sold wood molding that looked like horseshoes. The other trim piece I found looked like rope. I bought them and left. The Holy Spirit had revealed the vision for the urn to me.
That night my bestie came home with an old award her grandfather had won riding horses. It had a gold horseshoe on it that was the perfect size for the top. My bestie had no idea what I was making or how I would make it. She asked me to use that horseshoe, and I did.
By the time she had arrived, I already had the box built and some trim pieces attached. She immediately knew what the design was on the outside – a horse jump. Red rode horses and jumped competitively. She recognized the bar and side posts.
I trimmed out the inside with blue satin, her favorite color. Cherry stain and gold hardware were fitted to match the horseshoe. I used a piece of leather strapping for the lock.
I created an urn that best illustrated her mom’s love for such a powerful, majestic yet tame animal that brought her so much love – horses.
I have toyed with expressing what I felt during this process because this isn’t about me or what I built. I am not sharing this for accolades and likes.
This is about something greater, much greater at work here.
You see – the truth is God took a lowly, novice carpenter like me and used me to create something significant and special. My bestie stepped out in faith when she asked me to make this for her momma. I accepted at first because who could say no to their hurting friend at such a request? At the very least, I would buy a nice one if I couldn’t manage it.
But we all watched how God brought all the pieces together to make a perfect tribute and hold place for her ashes. It was a beautiful thing to witness and be a part of. I will forever remember this.
After all was said and done Saturday night, and we had celebrated Red’s life, we were walking to the car, and the topic of the urn came up again.
How do you tell folks you built an urn?
How do you not sound like you’re bragging, and how do you share with people who if they can’t afford to buy one, you can make one for them? It’s an odd thing to discuss.
How do you put into words what it meant to be asked to contribute to someone’s life in this way?
Then there’s this question – How do you point you, the reader, to the master carpenter – the Lord Jesus through this story?
Because at the end of the day, these last three weeks had His fingerprints all over it and we are forever grateful to have had a front-row seat to the compassionate, caring and loving times spent with Red during those final days of her life here on earth and to see the hands of God move at each point. It was beautiful despite the pain.
No more suffering.
We rejoice she no longer suffers but is enjoying heaven and the wide-open fields and perhaps a few horses.
I don’t know that I could ever really put into the proper words what this has meant to me. 2016 was a pretty big year in many ways I won’t go into here, but knowing God has stayed by my side and still works through me has got to be one of the greatest Christmas gifts I have ever received.
Oh how I love thee Lord – let me count the ways!
Glory to God in the highest and peace to those on the earth!!