They had been raised from chicks by hand, and they were much loved. Ricky and Fred were stunning examples of their breeds. An Americauna and a Silver Wyandotte. When the roosters began to crow, they needed a new home, so they came to live with me.
The third rooster was just "Rooster" and I had raised him from an egg.
They were the funniest roosters I've ever had. Sassy and bossy, they strutted in front of the barn like they were kings of the world. Until day before yesterday.
That morning, I had checked the chickens before I went to help with Bible school. They were all in the coop. I let them out to free range for the day. When I left, they were fine.
Later that afternoon, I was on the screen porch, writing, when I heard the chickens cackling like crazy. The roosters were crowing. It was an uproar. I looked around for Maggie and Mamie, my two chicken-chasing dogs. They were snoozing on the floor beside me.
Usually, a chicken uproar means the dogs are trying to play chase with the chickens. This time, the racket was over almost before it began. Chickens being chickens, I decided, and kept writing.
I wish I hadn't.
I'm not sure I could have changed anything if I'd run with all my might, though.
A few hours later, The Hired Hand came by. "What're all those feathers about?"
"Two big clumps of feathers. One clump of red feathers and one clump of black ones."
"I don't know. The chickens were all there a few hours ago."
We shrugged it off. As usual, the chickens put themselves to bed and he closed the coop door on his way home.
Yesterday, I had a busy day, so I didn't get to the barn until mid-afternoon. I apologized to the chickens for being late and looked around. Seven hens. No roosters.
I called the roosters. No one came.
I searched everywhere. Not a rooster in sight.
When I saw the feathers, I knew.
The hawk we'd seen circling the barn a few days earlier had come back. The roosters were gone.
I know this might not be the first thing most people think about when they find the remnants of their beloved roosters, but I thought, "Life is so fleeting. It's just a vapor, really." I put the chickens back in their coop and trudged toward the house.
As I walked, I pondered the brevity of our lives. In the big scheme of eternity, it's over in an instant. In a flash of talons and ripping beaks, the roosters' time here was done. Our lives can end just as quickly. One pause in heart rhythm, one car accident, one tiny blood clot to the brain, and we're gone.
One moment we're here. The next, we've stepped into eternity.
Life is short and it ends fast sometimes. That's why it's so important to live like we mean it.
If we say we love our families and friends, we need to live like we do.
If we care about our neighbor as ourselves, we need to demonstrate that concern with our lives.
If we say we love our Lord, we need to live so that others can see that in us.
There will come a day when we take one breath in this world and our next breath in eternity. It can be sooner than we expect, so let's stop today and consider the priorities of our lives. Are they in the proper order?
If we were to die today, would we be proud of how we invested our few days on this earth? Would God be pleased?
The time to change is now. Consider what is most important in life and begin today to make any adjustments that need to be made in both priorities and life style.
Tell people you love them. Express appreciation. Say thank you. Put down your phones. Embrace life. Laugh. Give more hugs. Smile every chance you get.
Live like you mean it.
"Behold, I tell you a mystery; we shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet; for the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed." 1 Corinthians 15:51-52 nasb
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