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Sunday, February 12, 2017

The parable of the chicken coops

Perhaps two years ago, finding my understanding of the potential for free ranging chickens to be incorrect, I was in need of a large enclosure to attach to my chicken coop to protect my chickens from predators. The project cost me a tremendous amount of time and money. I invested everything I had into building that building. It looked very nice, and it certainly achieved its purposes in protecting the chickens. At some point, we decided we needed more chickens than could fit in the original coop and extension, so we built a new coop. When I built the new coop, I incorporated fixes for all the limitations I had discovered in my previous design. It was even more expensive and time consuming to build. We moved the chickens over, and the old building has sat unused for perhaps 6 months. Where I live, this has been a record snowfall year. No one I have met, even the old timers, remembers a winter with more snow. Two days ago, we had a tragic accident. Unexpectedly, the old coop extension collapsed under the weight of the snow. Not knowing I needed to, I had not designed the coop with the sheer strength it needed to withstand a load of about 3' of snow. My wife called me at work with the news, expecting me to be very upset. When she told me, I uncharacteristically didn't care. In fact, my attitude was so nonchalant that it was as if she told me "just so you know, the wind blew today." We say this a lot, but I can truly say that I literally could not care have cared less about it. In spite of all the trouble I had put into it, in spite of all the cost, in spite of the loss of use and the intensive cleanup that will be required, I just didn't care. It was counted as dross to me.

Yesterday was the anniversary of my excommunication from the LDS church. I only realized this because a friend of mine reminded me. It had not even crossed my mind. What I have learned from the Lord in the last year vastly eclipses anything he did or could have taught me in the LDS church in the preceding 14 years.

If I had not moved to a new coup, I still would have lost a chicken coop, but I would also have lost all of my chickens. If we trust God, we are willing to identify what we yet lack, and willing to let him escort us to a better place. It doesn't matter what kind of effort we put into the previous system of things.