My reflections on dropping my oldest son off on his college doorstep yesterday strangely made me think of the chicken coop.
Or maybe it’s not so strange. I mean, when we got the baby chicks they were twenty-four hours old, and they were tiny little balls of fluff that fit in the palm of your hand.
We didn’t know what to expect, or even if they would all survive. Fifteen chicks spent the first two months of their lives in a small, enclosed area in the shed. Gradually we increased the area of their box, until they were old enough, and we graduated them to the chicken coop. What a day! Not only had all fifteen survived, they were thriving!
Turned out we had four roosters. They were supposed to all be hens. Apparently someone’s job out there is to take newly hatched chicks and determine their sex. Good luck with that! (There’s a way to tell by flipping them over and looking…not my area of specialty.) But four out of fifteen were roosters.
We debated cutting their feathers (still debating) to limit their flight, but we have netting in place overhead for protection. So far we haven’t trimmed them.
(I had to reassure my daughter, it’s just like cutting your fingernails.)
And those siblings would spat! I’ve only broken it up once, and since then I’ve let them work out their own battles.
And so it goes, until the day comes when that first fledgling flies the coop. And all I can do is watch with pride and joy as he begins a new season of his journey. I don’t know what God has in store for him, but I do know that God is with him. And that gives me peace, knowing that even though he is a “chick” among wolves, I have faith and trust that, no matter what, God is with my son. He is a light making his way in the world. And though I can’t watch over him every moment of the day, I can offer up prayers and trust that they provide cover over him.
So back at the coop the other fledglings grow. No one knows what each day brings, but we greet the morning with hope and joy. It’s a new day!