Most of my Saturdays are regular old ranch-chore days, but last Saturday was special. I was able to join the circle of horse friends who came forward to help the area horseman who lost his barn, equipment, and several horses to a fire. (See my previous post.) We all showed up at a local fairgrounds to participate in a benefit show, drop off donated goods and envelopes of cash, and offer our condolences and support.
Besides helping someone survive a tragic loss, I think we also got some benefits of our own. A big one: Having an action-oriented way to deal with our own feelings in the wake of the fire. There wasn't one person there who hadn't thought about losing his or her own horses in a fire and been horrified by the mental picture. With the exception of those whose horses DID perish, there wasn't anyone there who didn't feel a sense of guilty relief because it hadn't happened to them. And there wasn't one person there who didn't experience a sense of pride over the way horse people come together in a crisis to give aid to one of their own. That tangle of emotions found an outlet that soothed many troubled hearts.
Some folks find it difficult to be in the presence of the bereaved. Others know what it's like to be the bereaved, and therefore understand the healing powers of the simplest supportive act. That's one of the things you come to learn from living through a tragedy or crisis of your own: You don't think twice when it's time to help someone else get through his.