My Life With Gracie…A Season For Hands

A Season For Hands

This illustration is based on a previous “My Life With Gracie” drawing which has a blank neutral background. Each gives a different perspective.

Chickens love to be up high, and it is still a bit of a thrill for me to see one of them fly up to a perch above the others. Everyone has their favorite spot for perching. Bessie’s is my chair!

This love of heights all started when they are actually just chicks. They want to be on top of something, anything really, and look down. They feel safe. They feel accomplished. The entire world is just a hop and a flap away…or so they believe!

Children are like that too, at least at first, believing anything is possible for them.

But there are some cold hard realities in our world. For some, “anything is possible” becomes “something is possible” becomes “nothing is possible.”

Inside each homeless person you see on the street, inside each of us actually, is a child who at one time wanted so much to believe anything was possible for them.

Perhaps what scares us about someone less fortunate is we don’t want to face the possibility we could have been born as them. Maybe that is why we keep our distance, push them away, or don’t help when we could.

Unlike people, chickens don’t have the ability to help each other to do much of anything. Without hands, they can’t nudge or push or lift up each other. They only have wings to flap.

As baby chicks, Bessie was more advanced than Gracie. Bessie wanted to help, but all she was able to do was flap her wings and “peep” encouragement until her hatch-mate reached their new higher perch. She would hop and flap up, hop down. Hop and flap up, hop down. All the time peeping as if to say, “Do this! Just do this!”

If that didn’t work, she would try again later, and again and again if needed, until they were able to sit and admire the view from their higher perch together, side-by-side as friends. Bessie did the best she could without any hands to help Gracie who was much more timid and afraid. This was because of her hatching defects which made thing like this difficult.

Bessie never abandoned Gracie. I do believe she would have given up the wings she loves so much for a pair of hands if she could have used them to help Gracie get up to the highest possible perch alongside her.

Chicken world is not people world. But too often people world is not what people world could be and should be.

We can just stand on the sidelines “flapping and peeping” by offering only thoughts, prayers, and encouraging words…or we can instead use our hands, even if they get a little dirty and calloused, to help lift up someone who struggles to be where we are.

Regardless of our faith traditions, we can make a difference during this season of holidays.

My Life With Gracie made me appreciate being able to use my hands to lift up others.

I will do my best to post each Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday. Every “Like,” “Follow,” and “Comment” is truly appreciated!

A Season For Hands

My Life With Gracie…Perhaps The Perfect Gift

Perhaps The Perfect Gift

This illustration is based on a previous “My Life With Gracie” drawing which has a blank neutral background. Each gives a different perspective.

Thanksgiving Day makes it official each year. The holiday season has begun. For most people it is time to share a meal together with friends and family. It often also means sharing gift lists or at least gift hints for whichever wintertime holiday is next to be celebrated.

Some people, I believe, just seem to have a talent for always giving “the perfect gift.” For me, it is an elusive skill. Gifts never seem to work out as wonderfully as I imagine they will.

Yet this weekend, my chickens and I gave each other the perfect gift. We just sat with each other and enjoyed a pleasantly sunny Sunday afternoon.

With the changing time and fewer sunlight hours, there is little light when I leave for work and even less when I get home. There are no long pleasant summer evenings or shorter brisk fall evenings to sit and discuss what is on our minds or share what is in our hearts.

So Sunday afternoon was a wonderful and most perfect gift. It was our time to be, simply be, together.

It was exactly what all of us needed, and particularly Amelia who waited until the others had gone to take dust baths to have a private conversation alone with me.

For a moment and perhaps longer, I thought of how quickly time was passing. Her time and my time will one day end.

Perhaps chickens know this from the beginning, but it takes people longer to realize.

Even as little chicks, they had their special best friends with whom to perch on their favorite brick. Everything is right with the world when they are perched way up high on a brick with their best buddies! They value each moment together.

When Amelia and Emily came to live with me, all they brought with them was each other. That was all they had, and it was enough. How different the world of people would be if we never cared about taking things with us, and only cared about taking people we love with us.

Amelia and Emily will always spend time perching together, like Blanche and Pearl, like Gracie and Bessie. Mostly they just sit and share the experience of enjoying the world around them. Like old friends, though not really very old at all, they give each other comfort, warmth, and time together.

Perhaps the greatest gift we could ever give or receive is simply time together as friends.

What a terrible heartbreak it would be if we were to hear as someone’s last private words to us, “Couldn’t you spend just one hour with me?”

My Life With Gracie made me wonder if an invitation to perch might be a perfect gift.

I will do my best to post each Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday. Every “Like,” “Follow,” and “Comment” is truly appreciated!

Perhaps The Perfect Gift

My Life With Gracie…Even Small Gifts

Even Small Gifts

My posts this week have been different, breaking the regular pattern of three cartoon illustrations and stories with each one getting more detailed with Saturday’s being the most colorful.

So keeping with this week’s differences, today I’m posting a larger cartoon illustration. It also stands alone rather than being part of a weekly series although I have posted some “chicken wisdom” about giving previously, and here is one of my favorite posts about the gift of dreams.

Last Sunday, I had an opportunity to speak in all three worship services at church concerning our Capital Campaign and Annual Stewardship giving.

Mostly I just wanted to thank everyone who had been giving all along for so many years to sustain our church. This was before I even knew it was there and before I even walked through the door.

It’s like they were giving me a wonderful gift before I even knew them and before they even knew me.

We are very close to reaching our Capital Campaign goal which will provide us with a new roof, repair water damage to our stonework, and replace the knob and tube wiring that could cause a serious electrical fire.

I honestly can’t imagine what my life would be like if the doors of St. John’s Church ever closed. Even more, I’m unsure what the most vulnerable in our community would do because we are in the heart of oldest part of our city with a large homeless population.

At St. John’s, we have a heart for giving, for giving our best, and for protecting the most vulnerable who have no voice.

Here is our Capital Campaign website St. John’s Church – Embracing the Future

Regardless of your faith, I think it’s good “chicken wisdom” to remember those who are most vulnerable and have no voice. It’s important to keep doors open, especially heart doors.