DARKNESS & NEW LIFE
Darkness Brings New Life
JoAnna Bennett, O’Brien Communications Group
9 April 2020
The sunshine was peeking through the curtains as I opened my eyes. I’m in my warm, cozy bed with my son curled up in my left armpit and my daughter curled up in my right. When I wake up in a pile of the people I love, I wake up grateful. I try to start each day thinking of three things I’m grateful for. Today, I only have to think of one.
**Cheep, cheep, cheep, cheep**
Okay, I don’t have to think of any. My third reason for being grateful is the fuzzy little baby chickens in the large Rubbermaid bin in my laundry room. If you thought waking up to the sound of birds outside your window is uplifting, try a choir of one-week old chicks. This isn’t my first batch of chicks, so I know it’ll teeter between uplifting and downright annoying. But I’m savoring the first week. Like most things in my life, I wasn’t planning on getting chicks, but here I am starting over again.
A Sly Fox
My four daily-egg-laying, fondly named and food-scrap-eating chickens were taken out by the neighborhood fox. An entire flock obliterated by one sly and cunning predator. He carefully climbed three fences and made his way into my yard at about six o’clock in the morning. He grabbed his breakfast and left three feathered oven roasters strewn about my yard.
After picking up the bodies of Rainbow and Scarlett, I noticed Chocolate’s body in my neighbor’s yard. Since Olaf was nowhere in sight, that meant he was breakfast. They brought the total of chickens I’ve lost in the last four years to 28. When I started this journey, each loss was profoundly traumatic. When you love and nurture an animal, it’s hard to see it succumb to the natural order of things. But after 28 losses, it becomes more of a routine.
I sheepishly walked in the house knowing I had to tell the kids about the incident. I bent the truth a bit and told them the chickens ran away, as evidenced by the feathers all over the yard. My daughter looked at me and said, “Does that mean we get babies?” And that sealed the deal, “Of course we will.” We’ll do it again! We must get a new flock.
Whether we’re ready or not, life is going to happen. Sometimes we’ll be prepared, but most times we won’t be. We’ll never be able to control what happens around us or in other people’s minds. We will be able to control how we react, when we react, and what we react to. We can only control ourselves. In the midst of chaos, we have to control ourselves better.
And remember: Even if you’re facing dark moments, there can still be new life.