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A Chicken Pen Encounter: Choosing Calm in Chaos

I never know what I’ll encounter when I walk out the door each day. The other morning, when I headed out to the chicken coop, something caught my eye. Two Blue Jays were inside the locked chicken pen. They were racing from side to side, desperately trying to escape the wired enclosure.

Because there are some tiny gaps in the fencing where the wire is bent, it’s not uncommon to find a small House Sparrow in the pen. These crafty birds are experts at knowing just where to enter and exit to get an easy meal. Blue Jays, however, are not small. I don’t know how these birds got in.

As I approached the pen, the birds grew even more frantic. They flew wildly, crisscrossing the pen and attempting to force their way out each time they hit the fence. I propped the door open and stood back. Almost immediately, one bird flew out. I waited for the other bird to do the same, but it didn’t.

I entered the pen and walked around the perimeter to attempt to coerce the bird to fly toward the door. It almost worked, except the bird panicked. Instead of flying out the door, the bird flew back and forth across the end of the pen, crashing into the side of the door each time.

Then, it stopped. Just inches from the opening, it stood with its beak wide open and its chest heaving, seemingly trying to catch its breath. It was so close to the door, but it didn’t move. I watched and waited. Finally, the bird appeared to regain its strength and flew to the door and out to freedom.

Sometimes we behave like that frenzied Blue Jay. We are so preoccupied with our current state of being that we can’t see anything else. We frantically go about our days, wasting precious time and energy trying to force our way through things, wearing ourselves out in the process as we crash into obstacles. If only we could stop and be still, we might get a new perspective. It’s not easy to stay calm when you feel trapped, but sometimes I think we trap ourselves with the choices we make. The next time your life feels frantic, take a break to catch your breath. You may just find God’s opened a door you couldn’t see before.