Sunday, August 21, 2011

When Dreams Can’t Hatch

For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
Jeremiah 29:11

Friday evening had been rather uneventful—a welcome change from the wild and wooly week we’d had. When it was brought to my attention that the chickens were still up, I groaned. There were many excuses for staying inside; I was tired, it was dark, the welcoming glow of my facebook page called to me … In spite of my burning desire to avoid the chore altogether, I recruited li’l Alan (since he was still up, anyway) to tuck our little feathered friends in with me.

While Alan put up the feed and pushed in the chicken door, I went in to check for eggs and count beaks. One measly little egg lay in the nesting box, making a total of two for the entire day. I was disappointed, but not surprised; egg production had been down for nearly two weeks. I blamed it on summer finally coming and mindlessly began to count the girls. Expecting the typical number of five, I was surprised when I stopped at four—twice. Where was Crabby Patty?

I alerted Alan and we went on a hunt for our fugitive hen. This wasn’t her first time flying the coop at bedtime; I’d found our free spirited-fowl in many a bush when she was younger. I’d even rescued that crazy chicken when she was stuck in a tree (you know that whole, “chickens can’t fly” theory? TOTAL MYTH)! We had noticed her out and about a few mornings this week (while her sisters were still cooped up), so I figured she was just too hot to stay in the barn. When we didn’t find her in the usual places, we called in for reinforcements (and a bigger flashlight).

After a bit more searching, hubby found her. She was quite far from the barn, surrounded by bushes and thorns of all sorts. I expected her to follow me, as she usually does. No dice—this girl was not moving. Li’l Alan reached down to pet her, and she began to peck furiously. I chalked it up to night time and being scared, but it was still very odd. Crabby Patty had never pecked anyone—including when I got her out of the tree! As she puffed up her feathers, I discovered why she wasn’t in the barn—and where all our eggs had gone! This wasn’t just a fleeting rendez vous; she’d been stock piling her eggs in a nest for quite some time now. Crabby Patty thought she was a mother!

For those of you who aren’t aware, we don’t have a rooster. Having a flock with only hens has given us the luxuries of delicious fresh eggs and no crowing in the morning, as well as the downside of NO BABY CHICKS. Poor Patty, however, has not taken a single health class. She didn’t know she was incubating stink bombs—she thought there were babies in there. She had made a beautiful nest for them, carefully lined with her own feathers. It broke my heart; I knew she didn’t understand why we wanted her off those eggs and into the barn.

As we tried to get her to leave the nest, she defended her eggs with all she had. I’m no meany; had it been an issue of stinky eggs alone, we would have left the poor dear to live in her mother hen fantasy. Leaving a young hen out alone at night to sit on thirteen eggs, however, would put her on the snack list for the raccoons, neighborhood dogs, coyotes, bobcats and bears who occasionally visit us here in the country. Though she fought it all the way, we eventually guided her back to the barn, gently nudging her with the scoop of the barn shovel. It was no easy task; if we stopped for a minute, she made a beeline for her nest again. Add to that the fact that it was dark, and we were all winded when we locked the barn door.

The fretful hen paced back and forth in the coop, telling us all what she thought of tonight’s ordeal. She allowed me to pet her once she rejoined her sisters, but she never stopped clucking incessantly at me. It was as though she wanted to be comforted, but she also wanted to tell me off!

Two days later, Crabby patty has calmed down quite a bit, but she’s still clucking my ear off when she sees me. I’m sure she’ll forget soon (that’s the benefit of having a brain the size of your eye), but I certainly won’t. Once again, God has used my feathered friends to remind me of a few lessons I need to review …

I’ve never sat on rotting eggs before, but I must admit, I’ve done my own brooding! Oh, how I remember taking multiple pregnancy tests when I’d already received a negative one – just because I had thought I was pregnant, and wanted so desperately to believe I was. I’ve clung to friendships that have run their course, stubbornly insisted keeping a business that wasn’t a good fit for our family, tried to love people “enough” to change them, plugged my fingers firmly in my ears when obvious signs of autism in Wyatt were trumpeting all around me … and so much more.

Emotions are tricky little numbers aren’t they? There are times when you feel a burning desire in your heart for something that appears to be so perfect. Like poor Crabby Patty, we assume we have all we need to bring our dreams into a reality. Our Father, however, looks down and sees how we, in our limited thinking, cannot understand why it’s not a good fit. If we’ve done our part and we’re faithful in every way, doesn’t that mean we should achieve our dreams? If we had a God who did not want to protect us from greater harm, I would say yes; but there are times when The Father has to scoop us up and carry us far from our dreams. Confused, we cry out that He is unkind, out of touch or simply apathetic. Even when we come to Him for comfort, we demand to have our say. We don’t see the lurking predators, nor can we smell the stench of a dream that is simply not meant to be. All we know is that our hearts are broken, our plans have been ripped away and we don’t know what comes next.

Even as Patty pecked the living daylights out of my boots, I was not angry at my vexed little hen. I knew she was confused, frightened, and yes, probably even a little sad. Our Father undoubtedly has more insight regarding our broken hearts than we can possibly fathom. I know there are some who fear letting God know how they feel about what’s going on in our world. I used to assume that God only wanted to hear about my happy feelings-- even though He already knew what I was thinking. When my sister suffered three miscarriages, I showed him my sorrow and confusion. When I lost my niece Heidi in a DUI-related accident, I sent sorrow, pain, frustration, anger and questioning His way. While attempting to parent a child with autism (as well as a highly-sensitive, emotionally demanding neurotypical child and my own health and allergy stuff), he gets generous a generous buffet of raw emotions, questions and the odd sobbing session in my bathroom. I go so far beyond pecking at His feet that it isn’t even funny … yet He never stops protecting, comforting and loving me.

I don’t know about you, but I find great comfort in knowing that A.) I am no surprise to God and B.) I don’t have to understand or even like all of His plans. When my dreams take flight, I know He will rejoice with me. When my plans fall to pieces, I know He will be there to comfort and love me. What a God we serve!

1 comment:

  1. thank you Amy. Beautiful post. Just beautiful!



About Me

I'm not your average housewife; but then, neither is any other housewife I've met! My life is a constant blur of kids, animals, hunting down and testing allergy-friendly recipes, shopping, LOTS of coffee, yarn crafting, nannying, singing and writing. I married my highschool sweetheart (the introvert who is a type-A, shy, organized, loves hunting, hiking and mountain climbing. He lives for pizza, burgers and cookies and doesn't like coffee). We are polar opposites, but Love, grace and a whole lotta Jesus can overcome anything! :) We have two boys who fill this house with lots of excitement, love, laughter and lunacy! Alan (9) is a happy-go-lucky, inventive, dramatic, eager-to-please kid who loves being dad's shadow and mom's shopping companion. He's the snuggliest kid I've ever met! Wyatt is extremely bright, inquisitive, entertaining and endearing. He lives for routine, Wii games, pixar films and writing stories. Alan is typically-developing, Wyatt has high-functioning autism. We live on an acre in the Pacific Northwest with our two aussies and 5 chickens. It's not the Waltons, but it works! :)