He intended it humorously. I know that. And yet somehow, in our ongoing debate about whether or not we should raise a few chickens for really no other reason than that our youngest Quail taking care of chickies sounds adorable, the Beloved managed to absolutely zing me with the observation that in the barnyard of life, I am the very chicken I so regularly disparage. Chickens are destructive by nature. They cannot even help themselves. As much as they like to strut their feathers (dang it, I am squirming just typing this), they absolutely cannot resist an opportunity to pick the ground, the garden, each other to the point of unusable.
He is right. I am the chicken! My mind instinctively picks apart every argument, every billboard, every offhand comment, every unfortunate haircut. It isn’t malicious; it is instinct. I destroy everything and hold fast to what remains (spoiler alert: the answer is God). You cannot even imagine how much I do not allow myself to say out loud, and that is the grace of God. My mind unchecked would be like handing a botanical garden over to a chicken who never sleeps or gets indigestion. Disaster.
This makes me uncomfortable, which I hope is also a glimmer of sanctification, of the grace of God at work in my heart, that I am not pretending it is a noble characteristic, destructiveness. I mean, it could be… if you destroy a thing so that you might rebuild it stronger, but if you have done much reading on this site then you probably already know that my instincts don’t really run to building. I am the first rat off the ship, because my mind was up before the sunrise and tore apart the tenuous ropes that held that ship together and it rarely crosses my mind to get a hammer and nails and try and reattach them.
I tell you all of this so that you will understand why I answer the phone when I know for a fact that it is spam. It is for all of you.
If I cut loose my destructive fowl brain on a lowlife attempting to prey upon the unsuspecting and rob them blind, then surely I am doing society at large a favor, no? Isn’t there a television show like that, where they recruit a serial killer and he is only allowed to kill other murderers? Like that. Or, if they aren’t trying to rob people blind, then you’ve got to assume that they are living their worst life and deserve a little entertainment. Enter, me.
The phone rings at the beginning of school and because my Quail have been coming off of colds and were feeling less than thrilled to be back to the great dining room table of learning, I was quick to put the call on speaker, in the hopes that I would catch a live one. Robot calls are fun for a few minutes, but they give up on me pretty fast. And lookey who I got! Live and squirming, presumably from India…
“Hello there, ma’am, how are you today?” (I am terrible at understanding and transcribing accents, so kindly insert the most offensive stereotypical Indian voice and assume you are downplaying.)
Oh, I am just dandy. Yourself?
“I am werry good, tank you for asking ma’am. I am calling today because the state of Washington has passed legislation that qualifies you for a free grocery card…”
A grocery cart?
“No, ma’am, a grocery card, and–“
Whoa, where on earth would I store a grocery cart? I mean, even if I took the racks out of my oven, it would be a squeeze…
“Not a cart, ma’am, a card with coupons and moneys from the–“
I guess I could store it outside. Hey, does this have something to do with those huge flashing lights that are in all the grocery store parking lots these days? I heard it was to keep us from stealing shopping carts and I never really understood how that would work. I mean, truthfully, I have never really wanted to steal a grocery cart, but now that they are making such a big deal about it, it sort of makes me want to try it, you know?
“Yes ma’am, but–“
Oh, so they are giving me one so I won’t steal it, is that it?
“It is a card, ma’am, a free card for–“
Could it double as a dog training crate? Like, say, could I use the grocery cart as a crate to train a chihuahua?
“Yes ma’am, you could…”
What about something bigger? Could I train a tiger in it?
“No ma’am, no tigers–“
Why? Is it illegal or something?
“Yes, no, I mean, no tigers and about this grocery card–“
Do they come in different colors?
“Yes, there are a lot of different colors on the front of the–“
I like blue. I have sort of always wanted a blue grocery cart. Not that I ever tried to steal one or anything.
“Yes, ma’am, you can have a blue–
Ok, so let’s recap. You want to give me a free blue grocery cart that I can store outside and use a crate to train a chihuahua but not a tiger, because the state of Washington passed a law. Right?
“(long sigh) Yes, yes, so we will send one to you, goodbye.”
And then he just hung up. A little abruptly, I thought. And just when I thought we were really building a special friendship…
Now, I admit, the possible edifying takeaways for you are many and varied and I couldn’t really settle on just one, so choose-your-own-application:
- Thank the Lord you are not married to this chicken brain, begin praying for the man who is.
- Some evils are best eradicated with satire. Keep your blade sharp, and never forget to clean it when you are done.
- Test the spirits. You have to know the truth to know when you are being lied to, and you will not know the truth apart from a diligent study of the Word of God. My study in 2 Peter kicks off in 3 weeks. Want in? firstname.lastname@example.org
- Use your gifts. Even the ones you don’t find highly valuable — God is the Giver, and He is the One who takes the gifts He gives and turns them into glory. Even chickens serve a purpose in God’s economy.