Three years ago, for our summer vacation, Jeanne, Ben and I took care of Dew Dance “Ranch,” in Port Angeles, Wash.
The owner, Marcia, is a friend of our family. She was going on vacation and needed someone to look after the property.
We lived in Marcia’s home while she was away. We paid for our stay by taking care of things. Before she left, Marcia walked us through our responsibilities. This included the chickens.
Our son, Ben, seemed fascinated by the “magic” of them laying eggs for his breakfast. (If you do not know our son, he has Down Syndrome).
Marcia told us that the chickens needed food, water, and for the eggs to be taken.
Marcia left on her trip. The following morning, Ben, anticipating breakfast, went down to the coop. He opened the little door to where the chickens would lay their eggs on an elevated platform. However, no eggs could be found at that early hour.
So, he decided to go around to the other side of the coop. He opened the main door and talked to his new found feathered friends about why there was no breakfast. After this consultation, which did not yield satisfactory results, Ben returned to the house and went back to bed.
I rose from sleep a short while later. I walked to the chicken coop. There was no sound, no birds. I discovered to my horror the main door was left wide open and the chickens were gone.
In an absolute panic, I woke up Jeanne and Ben. We frantically looked for the chickens all over the property and even down the road. Nothing.
After about half an hour, to our amazement, the five hens appeared from the adjacent woods and made their way back into the coop. They wanted to be fed and likely sensed a greater security in that space.
For us, we may wander away from God for a period, even into the dark woods, but there is always an open door for us to return.
Walter is pastor of Immanuel Lutheran Church and has served as parish pastor for 30 years.