Growing up, birds were undesirable to me. Chickens pecked. Geese chased. Sparrows swooped. I had several negative experiences with birds, including when one relieved itself on my shoulder.
There were times a bird would find its way into the house through the woodstove chimney... and out the damper it would fly, desperate to find its way outside again. I would run to my room and shut the door until I heard the coast was clear.
One summer, I had decided to move my bedroom downstairs where it was much cooler. In the meantime, one of our geese had died so its mate would come by the basement window, pecking at its reflection, thinking it was his partner. I’m glad that glass held up.
And chickens? They grossed me out. Have you ever butchered them? That just about did me in. And to top it off, Sis and I were in charge of cleaning eggs. Nuff said.
Turn the tables, 30 years later and I’m finally coming around. It has taken me some time to come to appreciate fowl. Interestingly, it started with a nondescript little house wren. I had hung a birdhouse, made by my grandpa, in a tree in the garden at Hubby’s and my first home. One day, I noticed that a bird had actually made a nest in the birdhouse, much to my surprise. My mother-in-law mentioned it was a house wren. So, in the days that followed, I took a liking to this little wren, especially when I learned that his song was so big and beautiful!
After moving to our next home, I decided to put up another birdhouse built by my grandpa, this time straight out from my window at the kitchen sink. Sure enough, a house wren made its nest in it, too. On many days when I was feeling lonely or down, that little wren would sing heavenly songs to me just as though they were straight from heaven.
Next came the persistence of Big Sweet Pea to help me work through my chicken issues. Eight years ago, she begged for chickens but that was definitely one thing her father and I agreed on... no chickens! However, if she was willing to pay the price of responsibility, she could have some. To this day, she has kept her word of feeding, watering, gathering eggs, and cleaning the coop. However, time marches on and, as she’s been in transition, going away to school and work, Lil Sweet Pea, Hubby, and I have had to step up to the plate to help with the chicken chores.
Since we know Big Sweet Pea won’t be returning home this fall, we’ve had some discussion as to whether or not we will keep the chickens. I’ve gone from not ever stepping foot into the chicken run to taking kindly to those birds, collecting the eggs and feeding them scraps. I’m just not so sure about giving them up now. It does my heart good to hear their cocka-doodle-dos in the morning or to see their curious looks when I shut them in at night. Three white hens sleep in the nesting boxes, so when I shut them in for the night, they peer out the boxes in the funniest fashion and cause me to chuckle every time.
The Word of God refers to birds. Sparrows remind us that God looks after us. Eagles remind us to fly above our circumstances and doves remind us to be innocent and pure.
God has been trying to teach me life lessons through the birds... they are wonderful teachers.
The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the position of this publication.