Sunday, May 4, 2008

Entitlement

Lately I have been doing a lot of thinking about loss. Life keeps throwing lessons at me that scream, "Prepare for the future! Just because you have something now does not mean you will have it one minute from now!"

In the picture above, Gabbrielle is reacting to thunder. The horses and I had been having a nice, relaxing lunch break on the RV lane in beautiful weather when dark clouds rolled in and lightning struck. I got the horses back to the barn just in time for the downpour. Within a matter of minutes, our beautiful day was gone. We are not entitled to beautiful days.

On Saturday we lost power. We have a private well, and without electricity we cannot pump water. The water in the horses' trough was down to almost nothing. I had noticed that the night before, but decided I could fill it in the morning. What was I going to do if the power didn't come back soon? My horses would go thirsty. When the power did return, I dragged every empty trough into the paddock and filled it to the brim to prepare for the next power outage. We are not entitled to water, electricity, or any other convenience.

Another example is Eight Belles. One minute I'm rooting for this gorgeous filly to win the Kentucky Derby, and ten minutes later she is dead. We are not entitled to life.

My daughter and I recently attended a ceremony in her honor for serving her varsity softball team for two years and for graduating this spring. As I was leaving the event, I was walking behind a woman who lost her teenage daughter in car accident years ago. Because her daughter loved to play softball, this brave woman still attends all the softball games and watches other people's daughters play. She also created a college scholarship for softball players in her daughter's name. Each time I see her I feel so many different emotions, yet she always smiles as if to help others feel better about her loss.

About four minutes after my daughter and her date left for their senior prom, fire engines and paramedics raced off in the direction they were headed. My husband and I panicked. Of course, the sirens had nothing to do with her and she was safe, but the worry is always there.

My daughter will be leaving for college this August. She will be far enough away that we will probably only see her twice a year on winter and summer breaks. I am trying to figure out what we will do without her. She is such an integral part of our family. We are not entitled to maintain a family dynamic.

My father worked for the same employer his entire life. We never worried about money. However, being in the software business, my husband and I are in and out of work with the tides of the US economy. One day we had a sizable 401K, the next day we were living off of it, and a short time later it was gone. Each time we lose our jobs, I have to put my horses up for sale. They are my family members, and I don't want to lose them, but if I can't feed them I have to find someone who can. We are not entitled to employment, nor are we entitled to retirement.

Then there is the hay crisis. I've been taking special care to make sure our pasture is lush this year. I suspect my horses may have to live off it if the hay shortage gets any worse. In years past, I fed them flakes of alfalfa/grass mix and let them graze in the pasture on the weekends as a treat. Now that pasture may become their livelihood. We are not entitled to food.

My husband has such high blood pressure that one side of his heart is bigger than the other. He recently ran out of blood pressure medication thanks to a misunderstanding with his nurse. We both used to be able to get a year's supply of blood pressure medication, and got our new prescription at our annual physical. For some reason our doctor now won't give us our medication unless we have a physical every 6 months, and if the nurse practitioner sees us, we only get a 2-month supply before we have to be seen by the doctor. All these required appointments are a huge inconvenience, yet in the case of my husband, they are life or death. We are not entitled to good health care.

My mother is my savior. When we lost everything and were living out of our cars and motels, she rescued us by talking my father into letting us live in their vacation home free of charge until we could get jobs and get back on our feet again. I often wonder what will happen when she's gone. I not only will have lost my best friend, but I will have lost kindest person in the world. She spent her entire life assuring my security and happiness. We are not entitled to be loved.

Ultimately, we are not entitled to anything. Everything and anything can be taken from us in a heartbeat. As I saw those thunderclouds rolling in, I thought what great lighting it made for photographs. I snapped dozens of pictures, all the time thinking that they may be all I have left of my horses someday. Love your horses, your family, your job, your life. Change is happening every moment, so love every moment, and then say goodbye. The next moment is already here. What are you going to do with it?

7 comments:

onthebit said...

Your post brought tears to my eyes. I make sure that every single ride I have on X that we both have fun because it might just be our last ride. I learned that by loosing the ability to ride Gennyral. I would have done things so differntly if I knew he was going to be retired early. Now whenever it is my day to ride X I do because I do not know what tomorrow brings and riding makes me very happy. It is good to remeber that nothing is ever permanant.

kaylee said...

Buddha said all live is suffering
in which we must participate
joyfully .

I know it does not help to
know we are all in the same
boat.

I get all my rx online
as each dr wanted monthly visits
they do not do anything...
no tests are run they just get
the money for a visit, then I
have no money for the life
saving drugs./
I buy the drugs on line
and save over 70% over
the drugstore price.

Eight Belles may she rest
if peace ....

klk

BrownEyed Cowgirls said...

No we are not entitled. I have been in those situations myself, except having to sell the ponies and the doctors. Thank god I could always bring the horses home to the ranches. Don't know how I would have survived sometimes without my mom either.

Chin up...Life is tough sometimes but the alternative is not good ;).

sue said...

your words and thoughts are powerful... actions be they positive or negative come from there....you're right, every moment is a gift and we need to cherish that.......

Nuzzling Muzzles said...

onthebit -- Yes, Gennyral is a good example. You definitely have had enough hard knocks to know what I'm talking about.

Kaylee -- Isn't Buddha awesome?

browneyed -- Thank goodness for ranches and mothers.

Sue -- Every moment is a gift. However, the way people behave in public and on the road around here, it leads me to believe that no one else seems to understand that. They have no regard for their own lives or the lives of others. So many drivers think they are entitled to driving as fast as they want and doing whatever it takes to push people out of their way. They think they are entited to drive in the oncoming lane, entitled to run stop signs, entitled to give the middle finger...

When I see someone on a clothing store throwing a tantrum because they don't have what they want in the right size or color, I know that person hasn't had enough hard knocks to know what matters.

Lynda said...

A very thought-provoking post. Beautiful days, water, food, health, love and even life, are a privilege. Use them wisely.

Shirley said...

Every moment is a gift from God. Use your moments wisely, lovingly, and thankfully.