A few months ago, my dad bought eleven chickens. He has since summed up the chicken caring experience like this, “Now I know when someone calls you a chicken, it’s really an insult.” Our little egg layers aren’t even laying eggs yet since they aren’t old enough to breed.
A few oddities:
One of our hens is a Silkie, given to my daughter by our neighbor who decided she needed a pet. J, who has unsuccessfully tried to name a series (and wide variety) of creatures Nala, now has a Nala of her very own. Apparently, Nala will be laying little eggs small enough that it’d take four or five to make a regular sized egg. I’ve never seen a chicken that looked like it had fur.
Another of our hens ended up being a rooster. We got rid of the rooster because, as Dad explained to my aunt, “He kept attacking the blind chicken.”
“You have a blind chicken?”
“Yes. The boys named her Freddy.”
“Only you guys would take care of a blind chicken.”
Perception, huh? Here I was, thinking, “Leave it to us to get the blind chicken.” That’s par for the course, you see. However, on the other side and what’s also par for the course, is that we’d care for that poor, blind beasty.
I’m starting to wonder if maybe that’s a circular kind of thing. We get the animals like Freddy (and, once upon a time, a deaf cat named Duke) because we’ll care for them, and because we’ll care for them, we get them.
I also wonder if that very thought process alone is superstitious, but then, having been raised in a Christian household and taught that God was everywhere in my life, it’s hard to see the coincidences. All the miracles keep getting in the way.
Stumbling Around in the Dark
This morning, after letting the ladies out of their house, I watched to see how Freddy managed to get around. Walking down the plank, she taps the wood first with one side of her beak and then quickly taps it again with the other side. Once she knows there’s solid ground underneath, she takes a few quick steps forward. Rinse and repeat.
She doesn’t fly; she hops straight up in the air and then back down. She walks around in circles several times, making sure she knows the area, and then wanders forward to walk around in another circle.
I couldn’t help but think, “and isn’t this a perfect metaphor for your life? Isn’t this what you do?” Freddy stumbles around in the dark (literally). She’s afraid to fly because she can’t see what’s coming. She keeps close to the chicken coop because it’s her comfort zone.
I’m forced to face facts. I… am a blind chicken.
This Little Light of Mine
Although I don’t mention him often, I once wrote about my daughter’s dad. To be frank, he was an unhealthy obsession. When he left, I was torn apart.
Many things in my life jumped into focus because of his leaving, though. I believe strongly that I couldn’t have seen the Truth with him still in my life. As someone who’s hate for religion was a religion in and of itself, he would have always stood between God and me. Obsessed as I was with him, I’m not sure I would even have tried to open the Bible, much less begun to learn, grow and try to follow Christ’s teachings.
Amazingly, the more I read, study and think on things, the more light shines on the situation.
I’m Gonna Let It Shine
Looking back over the past few years, I’m completely flabbergasted by the differences – in me, in my children, in my life. It’s night and day. I’ve been like our blind chicken, stumbling around in my personal darkness for so long it’d become my comfort zone. I’ve been afraid to fly and unable to see what was coming.
I’ll tell you a secret. I still don’t know what’s coming.
But it’s a lot easier to breathe now, because all the things that have hurt for so long – all the painful memories, emotional and physical scars – it’s all coming back around full circle. Things are starting to make sense in a way they never have.
Because, now I know that when God says He’s going to be part of your life, He isn’t exaggerating. I also know that He may have more than the immediate reason we see for doing something.
I’m going to use an example that, for you, may seem very small. It may seem insignificant. For me, it means the beginning. Not a fresh beginning – you can never start over in life. I’m not turning over a new leaf – life is the same old leaf it’s always been, with its rollercoaster ride of ups, downs, ins, and outs.
It’s not a new beginning, but it is the beginning of something new. It’s the beginning of a new perception and, as those of you who read my blog know, I’m fully convinced you can change your reality by changing how you perceive things.
I don’t know where to start explaining how, where, when, why, so I’ll just start out in the middle.
Sunday, I went for a walk with my best friend. It was just a walk – feet on pavement, air in the lungs, muscles stretching and bending like they’re supposed to. And yet, it was also much more than just a walk. It was a life changing, get-a-load-of-this-perception, all out emotionally healing, eye-opening experience.
Along the walk, I found little, orange trumpet flowers snaking their way across the grass. I uncovered a single, tiny, bright pink flower, bravely splashing its color across the scenery. We walked past tiger lilies and mini-fronds, red oaks and sycamores, over ponds and across mini-gorges barely man-height.
Around every corner was a delightful discovery of nature’s normality. Every shot of the horizon showed big sky, stacked high with fanciful cloud formations. Below the sky, mankind’s attempt at ascetics shyly stair-stepped across the flat land. It was breath taking.
We took the road less traveled. A few roads and paths less traveled, actually. We uncovered a small, man-made waterfall and followed paths through woods we didn’t know, wondering where they’d come out. I took my shoes off and splashed through cold water, grinning like an idiot. We walked up what must have been at least a 55-degree incline, hearts pounding like mad but going for all we were worth.
At the top was scenery that brought tears to my eyes. God’s glorious creation and mankind’s poor attempt to imitate all stretched out below. How fantastic. How wonderful. It wasn’t until we were on the way back to my house that it hit me, and I realized another truth about the way life has gone.
There has been a part of me, even now, that still pines (if you can call it that) for my daughter’s dad. Not so much out of love for him, but out of love for my daughter.
Oh, his leaving wounded me deeply and many of the scars are still there, but for J… well, my independent, “just go away and let me do” daughter ended up with a 2-year stint of severe separation anxiety. I couldn’t leave the house without a serious – and real – bout of terror-filled tears from her.
The walk with my best friend was just a walk, and yet, I felt alive when it was over. I felt as if I’d woken up after a long sleep. My body sang from the warm glow of exertion. My head was full of the beauty we’d seen. My heart was full of the sheer enjoyment of the experience and the ability to share it with my closest friend.
These kinds of experiences set my soul on fire with love of life. I crave the outdoors. One of my favorite feelings is to walk barefoot in the grass. One of my favorite sights is a full moon. One of my favorite smells is rain. One of my favorite feelings is the wind.
My ex liked to sit on the couch after work and watch T.V. That’s about all he liked to do. Although “despise” is too strong a word, I really dislike television. Most of the time, I’m not too fond of movies, either, to tell you the truth. But, in spite of that and despite my lack of interest in what was on, I sat with him and stared at the “boob tube” because I wanted to spend time with him. I would have sat on that couch next to him for the rest of my life and shriveled away.
I would probably never have enjoyed the kinds of things that light me up inside like Sunday’s walk did.
If I Could Go Back In Time…
Seldom do I think about going back in time, fixing the past or do-overs. However, this is an exception to the rule. If I could go back in time, I’d tell my younger self a thing or two. Since I can’t, maybe if I write it out here it’ll help those of you who are in painful situations right now. Maybe I’ll be able to look back at another time and take some courage from it. At the very least, I’ll be able to see what I’ve learned so far:
Relax. Breathe. I know it hurts right now, and I know you feel like your heart will never heal. I know you think your kids will be broken forever, and nothing will ever be right again. You see the pain in their eyes and feel the pain in your heart and you think, “I can’t take it. We’re hurting and I can’t fix it. I don’t know what to do. I don’t know where to go. I’m not strong enough for this.”
It’s going to be hard to accept when I say this, but you’re right. You can’t fix it. You can take it, though, and you can take your children in your arms and love them with all your might. And you can pray like nobody’s business.
A few years from now, you’re going to watch your smiling, happy kids run around like rabid squirrels, full of life and love. You’re going to feel the pain ease in your heart every day you spend laughing and talking with your best friend. You and your children will be fully on the mend, hearts healing with joy, love and faith.
You’re going to have proof, through numerous answered prayers and minor miracles, that God is more involved in your life than you have any right to expect.