Sometimes, I'm reminded about just what a sinner I am.
Case in point.
As y'all remember me announcing last week, we're expecting baby number three this summer. Little sprout has made me feel pretty terrible these past few months and the just the idea of eating meat, particularly chicken, was enough to make me dry heave. Sorry. But it's the truth.
Because of said chicken-induced-dry-heaving, it's been approximately five (six?) weeks since I wandered down to the freezer in the barn where our lovely Rainbow Rangers were lined up beautifully awaiting their culinary destiny.
Last week, feeling I *may* be able to stomach the chicken, I skeptically made my way down to the barn to pick up a chicken for supper. When I opened the door, I found 18 of our beautiful chickens thawed. And stinky.
I poked it. Yep. Definitely squishy. No longer frozen. But for how long?
I sniffed. Hmm. A big egg-esque. Not horribly rotten. But not fresh either.
I counted. “One, two, three, four, five, six (tears begin to well in my eyes), seven, eight (tears fall down my face), nine…” I had to stop at nine. I couldn't muster up enough courage to count the remaining chickens.
I ran back to the house, wiping my tears away like a little school girl. And then, anger built up inside me. WHY!?!?! WHY THESE CHICKENS?!?!
And then, I shouted out loud to the entire world: “WHY?!? WHY DOES EVERYTHING HAVE TO BE SO %*!&$%* HARD!”
I know. You can unsubscribe, quit reading my blog, and unfriend me on Facebook if you want. I understand. Because I totally swore… and out of anger. Sanctification process = failed.
After the anger passed, I instantly felt guilt. Guilt for getting so angry and questioning God's goodness. Guilt for letting something so trivial cause me so much anger. But it was my chicken, man! It was the chickens that I'd raised from the second day of their life. It's the chickens that I cared for and grew so carefully for months. It's the chicken that I fed an exclusive organic, soy-free, diet. It's the chicken that I built a giant pen for so that it could free-range in the fresh air and sunshine. It's the chicken whose life I took, whose blood I'd drained, who's bodies I'd cleaned, who's feathers I'd plucked. It's the chicken that was to supply our family with nutrient-dense meat for the upcoming year. It was a part of this homestead and a representation of the love that we put into growing our food.
That chicken is not replaceable.
Over the next couple days, I came to terms with the reality of such a huge loss in meat. Based on the cost per chicken, we estimate the loss to be about $435. A significant chunk, no doubt. And even worse is the months and months of meat that was supposed to provide us with – we planned a chicken per week for the entire year. 18 lost birds meant 18 weeks less of meat.
Although the thought of that wasted meat still makes me want to swear (sorry, it's the truth), I've since been able to thank God for His perfect and righteous ways.
Through this disaster, the Lord's taught me a few things (which I can give thanks for!):
1. Plan properly. Had we had an alarm on our freezer, we would have known that it had broken down. Normally, I check the freezer multiple times per week but since I've been so nauseous (and not eating chicken) it was far too long between checks. We've since learned that when that much money is sitting in your freezer, investing in a small freezer alarm is a very, very smart idea. Proper planning prevents poor performance, they say. Point taken. (Man, I sure wish I didn't have to learn lessons the hard way sometimes…)
2. Let it go. Crappy things happen, man. Annoying things happen. Bad things happen. And even though these are crappy, annoying, and bad, it's still a great reminder that things on this earth (even beloved chicken) is temporal. In the blink of an eye, we can loose anything on this earth. It's an ever important reality to be reminded of. Cling to that which is never ending and eternal. Let earthly things GO.
3. Keep perspective. It's easy to only see the fishbowl we live in, oblivious to the struggles and reality of life for others. Loosing a few hundred dollars is a punch that is hard for us to take, but not impossible. Many people have no chicken to eat, or no food at all. Come on, Shaye. It is chicken. So keep it in perspective.
I feel like I've passed the anger and sadness and am now at the point where I truly give the Lord thanks for this situation. I'm thankful to be reminded of His eternal nature and the fleeting follies of this world. I'm thankful to be provided for in such a real way that even with this loss of meat, we will not go hungry. I'm thankful that the Lord saw fit to grow me, stretch me, and strengthen me.
I'm also thankful that the same day we lost the chicken, a neighbor showed up with a 30-pound box of locally raised, pastured ground beef for us. He didn't even know that we'd lost the chicken.
The Lord provides.
And though I failed in the heat of the moment, I know that His work in me is never done. He'll continue to love me, sharpen me, and prune all that nasty anger right out of my heart. I am thankful we didn't loose all of the chickens and I'm thankful that we'll have the opportunity to grow and butcher more this spring (a little earlier than originally planned, but so it goes!).
The Lord giveth chicken. And the Lord taketh away chicken. And through it all, we can give Him praise.