Friday, May 15, 2020

Loss on the farm

Today was a day I have been bracing myself for for a long time. We have been working hard on the chicken coop and run, but it isn't quite done.  In the mean time we have been letting the chickens free range. Considering we have dogs on either side of our tiny little lot, I thought for sure we would loose a chicken or more to the dogs, or the creek in the backyard, or the road, or sickness... Today was the day. My oldest (and biggest animal lover) ran inside screaming. He had been down the street helping his grandma with something heavy. When he returned home, he saw a wooden pallet with chicken feet sticking out under it. Somehow the chickens knocked it over and one of them lost their life to it.

If you are going to raise animals, you know that death happens. It is just a first of many heart aches that will keep coming if we continue to pursue this lifestyle. Animals die for so many reasons, and sometimes we don't even know the reason why. An accident is hard to wrap your head around. So many what ifs.

As I held my weeping children I wondered if this was a kind thing to do to them. I wondered if allowing them to love on the chickens instead of emotionally separating ourselves would have been a better choice. I wondered if we were cut out for this "farm life."

I watched my boys dig a grave for their beloved pet. I heard my 5 year old sob that she was still a baby. I couldn't have counted the tears on all of their faces. Even my one kid that says she isn't an animal lover told me that she felt like she was going to throw up.

None of us have been raised on a farm. I know that this kind of loss becomes a familiar companion if you have enough animals. Maybe someday this won't hurt so much to witness. But for today it hurts.

Yesterday I watched in awe as my boys all worked together on the chicken coop. I couldn't help but to feel like the hard work was helping them become men. Today I had the same feeling. This time with a little more sadness in my heart as I watched them cry, dig a grave, and respectfully bury our sweet chicken. Experiencing loss is helping my children to grow and mature.

As much as my natural instinct is to shield and protect my kids, make sure nothing sad ever happens, and if it does fix it right away. Yet, I know they need to go through this. I know that heartbreak is always the price for love. I need them to know that life hurts some days. I need them to know that I can't keep it from coming, but I am here for them when it does.

It reminded my of my Father in Heaven who also is there for me when my heart hurts. He knows that protecting me from all pain isn't helpful, but He is still there for me when life hurts.

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