Would you smile anyway?

June 3, 2014

It was a normal Saturday, and after a hair appointment, a visit to my mama on her blueberry farm, and buying 200 crickets for my upcoming fishing trip with my husband, I headed home to take out my horse, May, as I always do.

I forgot to pick up garbage bags.

The little country store across from our house saved the day, as it has so many times. A forgetful person like me really needs something like that close by. So, on my normal Saturday, I walked in the store to pick up my garbage bags, pay for them, and head back home. Little did I know as I opened the door to that store that the rest of my day would be anything but normal.

To pause for a moment, many people who know me and know my story know that I have a love for working with children with disabilities. It began on a Christian based therapy horse farm during one of the hardest summers of my life. From that point on, I knew it wasn’t just something for me to do. It was my calling.

Sitting at the counter at that store was Daisy, a little girl of 10 years old whom I had heard so much about, but never met in person. Not long ago, Daisy was hit by a car while out riding her bike and paralyzed from the waist down. She spent months and months in the hospital, and at one point wasn’t expected to live. And now, here she sat, at the checkout counter with her grandmother and younger sister, helping customers swipe their cards and check out. And she did it with a smile on her face.

This little girl was full of light – you could see it on her face.

I felt an overwhelming feeling that I needed to bring my horse across the street to meet Daisy, although I wasn’t quite sure how to bring it up. I said a quick prayer and asked the Lord to help me, and after mentioning the horse feed I’d bought earlier that morning, the prayer was answered.

“I love horses!” exclaimed the now two very excited little girls. This was my signal to offer bringing May over to the store. I asked the girls’ grandmother, and she agreed.

May is my little palomino mare, who I love as if she were my child. Once chained to a tree, abused and starved, she was rescued by some friends of mine, and then she became my horse. She was so forgiving of her past abuse, because she is the most gentle, loving horse I’ve ever met.

Running home and talking to May as if she could understand me, I told her we were going to make some new friends. I walked her over to the store as surprised onlookers watched a girl walking a horse to the front door.

Daisy came out in her wheelchair, followed by her sister. I could immediately see the glow on her face as she saw May waiting for her. She reached out and touched May’s nose and I could see the joy in her eyes. I sat down on the grass with Daisy and we talked for more than two hours, while May patiently stood there, allowing two happy little girls to pet her.

What surprised me about Daisy was how happy she really was. She could have thought of every reason not to smile, but she found one reason to smile, and smile she did.

In the two hours we talked, I learned a lot about this amazing little girl. Her life certainly had not been easy. She and even I shared some of the same hurts in life. But even so, she said every single word with a smile. Never a frown. She told me her lifelong dream was to help other disabled children through horse therapy. See, Daisy loves horses too. She was planning a birthday party horseback ride before her accident.

But Daisy smiles anyway.

Our visit ended way too soon that day, but May and I will see her again. The impact that child left on me was tremendous. To have been through so much, and to still be smiling…that tells me she is a strong little girl. Much stronger than most people. It also tells me she did not walk alone through her trials. Someone else carried her through them.

We talked about Jesus, the one who brought her through every trial she had ever faced. She said she knew He was the reason she pulled through it. He never left her side, and He still hasn’t. That’s why Daisy smiles. She knows that He is her strength.

One thing I know is certain: life hurts. You can’t avoid it. And there are days you won’t be able to smile. As one of my favorite singers, Mandisa says, “God can handle your honesty.” It’s okay to cry sometimes. It’s okay to feel hurt. But it’s so important to remember that no matter what you face in life, Jesus will walk with you through it if you ask Him. Just ask. It’s as simple as that.

I am so thankful to have finally met Miss Daisy that day. God used her to bless me in an awesome way. I’m sure she is a blessing to others too. You don’t meet people like her every day. She has such a genuine sweet spirit about her and I thank God for her. I hope she knows how much she is loved, by me and so many others.

Things happen for a reason. I’ve learned not to question it. God can take a situation and use it for His good. Even forgetting to buy trash bags.

Marianne Buie is the wife of Eric and a resident of Kelly. She hopes to start her own equine therapy farm for disabled children.