An Empty Nester (First written for the Bethel Baptist newsletter) By Neva Bodin
My daughter has a psychotic chicken. This poor little feathered friend of the family has lost contact with reality. Imagine, a chicken with a psychosis. (I can see the disbelief written on your faces, but I was a psychiatric nurse for many years and I recognize the signs.) She thinks she’s a mother. She laid eggs in hopes of raising a family. She wanted to be a “cluck.” However, her eggs were collected, and she never had a nest of eggs to incubate. She now behaves as if she hatched out a nestful and runs around the yard caring for her imaginary brood. She sits down and fluffs out her feather as if covering baby chicks. She finds food on the ground and calls them to come and share. She sometimes thinks she forgot them and runs back to the coop to find them. The family bought two baby chicks to give her after a few weeks of this behavior. She attacked them. Apparently, they were not “hers” like the imaginary ones are. So, the purchased orphans, Bertha (who may be Bert) and Pat (who may be Patty), live temporarily in the house in a cardboard pen. My granddaughter (whom many in Bethel Baptist met when she attended church with us) was seen rocking them. The little wanna-be cluck may need some intense therapy. But this poor hen’s behavior reminds me of a beautiful verse: Psalm 91:4: He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart. (NIV) Hard to imagine God with feathers? Perhaps, but the analogy is wonderful. Like the chicken, he’s ready to gather us under his wings, to keep us lovingly protected, holding us close to him as we grow in our knowledge and love for him. He is faithful.