I want to live
To stumble endlessly down the years in overcoats and bathing suits.
To have daisies for my table and beer for my friends
To laugh at this crazy world and cut it down to size whenever my lungs feel it necessary
And I want it my way. Unless yours is more fun.
And I want the whole world to go down to the park for just an hour so we can chase the ducks back into the water... where they belong.
Right now in our barn we have two chickens that I am nursing from separate unfortunate incidents. The first chicken, Garfield, is one of my favorite hens. I loved to watch this (formerly obese) hen waddle around the farm doing her chicken thing. I found her one afternoon huddled in a corner of our barn with two broken legs and most of her back feathers removed. Things did not look good for Garfield. But when Garfield looked back up at me with that 'I want to live' look, I tended the open wounds with 'Papa's spray' (a near magic solution made by my Dad's company that we use on all wounds as well other places where bad stuff festers) and made her a nice little hospital bed in a small cage where she would be safe. And then the kids and I asked Jesus to do what only He can do- heal Garfield's legs. Today, Garfield is 100% healed and lives in her little hospital room with 4 surrogate babies.
The other chicken is a very bizarre story indeed. I was in the barn about a month ago feeding the horses when I noticed a chicken walking towards me. She was shaking her head and walking all freaky, scary, zombie-apocalypse style. I then noticed that (I'll try not to be too graphic) her scalp had been detached and her brain was exposed. She had also suffered some loss of feathers on her back. The fact that she had survived that brutal of an attack was astonishing. At first I thought I should call Greg to come home to help this bird "out of its misery" as they say but I stopped short when I noticed the bird looking at me out of its one good eye. Lands above, this bird wanted to live! So, out came Papa's spray for the brain and back injuries and, because she has a twisted neck, I held her upside down over a waterer to make sure she would be able to drink without a syringe. And then I prayed, "OK, Lord, you give all things life and we thank you for it. Help us help each other to the best of our ability and we praise you that the rest is in your perfect hands. Please help this chicken." Today, she lives in a horse stall with one other chicken who is very kind to her. Her head and back injuries have healed and though her neck is still terribly twisted, she manages to eat and drink on her own (I still hold her over the waterer each day to insure that she stays hydrated and I hold fresh tomatoes for her... because she likes them ;).
We dont always have happy chicken stories. The last chicken that I found was in the best physical shape. He had lost a good number if feathers on his back but otherwise had no other injuries. When I found him, he was crouched down in the barn and the chickens were taking turns bullying him. He didn't even look at me when I went to pick him up. I got him in the "safe room" away from the others, dressed his back with Papa's spray, gave him food and water, put him on his fresh bed of hay and prayed, "Lord help this lil' rooster." But the next day, he was gone.
OK, so, why am I writing about our chickens like this? Because I think that the tenets of faith, hope, charity (love) in chicken tending are applicable to how we best walk out our lives with other people. The lives of hurting people are messy. You have to roll up your sleeves, expect to be on your knees a lot asking Jesus how to chart new territory, and be prepared to sacrifice your time, comfort and felt needs for a while. I have much faith that my God is a God of wonder, mercy, grace, love and miracles. I have great hope in the promises of Christ and I love to see that glimmer of "I want to live" in the eyes of His creation. I believe with all my heart it is our responsibility to love with a tangible, charitable, need meeting, belly filling, hug giving, bed making, wound tending, mess cleaning, hair brushing, house repairing, lawn mowing, go where He sends you, care for the least of these, the hurt, the lost, the broken even if it wrecks my plans kind of love. Let them see you give of yourself and the resources God has given freely and let them hear you plead for them at the feet of your Savior for those needs that your humanity stops you from meeting. Under a banner of grace and mercy, let's feed His sheep, even those sheep that have given up all hope. It is humbling to stop and look into the eyes of people- those who want to live and those who don't- and know that EVERY ONE OF US HAS BEEN CREATED WITH AN ETERNAL PURPOSE. Your faith, hope and love (charity) in this moment in time can make all the difference in someone's life. Everyone could use a little 'life support' at times, yes?
Nothing has affected my everyday coming and going, might not have noticed otherwise interactions with what may seem in passing to be a mundane exchange between people than this C.S. Lewis' quote from The Weight of Glory:
It is a serious thing to live in a society of possible gods and goddesses, to remember that the dullest
and most uninteresting person you talk to may one day be a creature which, if you saw it now, you would be strongly tempted to worship, or else a horror and a corruption such as you now meet, if at all, only in a nightmare. All day long we are, in some degree, helping each other to one or other of these destinations. It is in the light of these overwhelming possibilities, it is with the awe and the circumspection proper to them, that we should conduct all our dealings with one another, all friendships, all loves, all play, all politics.
There are no ordinary people. You have never talked to a mere mortal.
So much #soulwrestling
Don't speak to me about your religion;
first show it to me in how you treat other people.
Don't tell me how much you love your God; show me in how much you love all God's children.
Don't preach to me your passion for your faith; teach me through your compassion for your neighbors.
In the end, I'm not as interested in what you have to tell or sell as I am in how you choose to live and give.
-Corey Booker, Newark Mayor
Don't Tell Me About Your Jesus
By: Aaron & Andrew
Don’t tell me about your Jesus, when I’m tired and undone
Don’t tell me about my sin, when apparently you’ve got none
Don’t tell me I need saving with some cheap words and a phrase
As if knowing some ancient story could really make my life change
Can you see me I’m barely holding on
Can you love me before pointing out my wrongs
You don’t know me or what I’ve been through
You don’t know me but you act like you do
I just need a friend or a shoulder to cry on
And God if you love me please hear my song
Don’t tell me where I’m going as if you could really know
Don’t say I have a voice then trample on my soul
Don’t point out my regrets with signs that shame me more
Don’t tell me about your Jesus when fear controls your world see less