*I started writing this blog post back in March of this year, but I never finished it. Last night I had a very vivid, realistic dream (which may result in a post somewhere down the road) that caused me to reflect on this experience and what I had learned from it. So this morning I finished writing what had been saved in drafts so many months ago and I feel prompted to share it now.
Hannah had left to go over to a friends house for the evening so the chore of penning the chickens up for the night was my responsibility. As the sun went down I was reminded to go and shut the coop door, but I didn't. I reasoned that they would be just fine for a few hours and I would do it when I went to bed. . It was dark, no moon, no stars, no lights, and although I couldn't see very well, I knew something was wrong as I approached the coop. The hens were upset and unsettled and I sensed that my "waiting" had resulted in something horrible.
I usually like getting up early and letting thirteen anxious hens out to scratch and meander. But this morning was different. I walked out back to find a big, healthy brown hen dead on the lawn. As sad as that is, it happens from time to time. A chicken will stay out later than usual and not make it back to the coop and fall victim to a raccoon during the night. But when I opened the coop door, I was sickened to find to two beautiful white hens slaughtered inside. I thought back to my actions of the night before and "waiting" to pen them up. That "wait" had resulted in the raccoon going inside where the hens should have been safe and protected. I was overcome with guilt of not providing that safe haven.
So many lessons to learn and gospel principles to apply when I contemplate this experience:
1) The importance of avoiding late night hours when temptations may be lurking.
2) The importance of being where you should be.
3) Listening to the promptings of the Holy Ghost and acting immediately
All these lessons have place for improvement in my life, but I share with you the main reason why this experience had such a profound influence on me.
I have reflected on my years of mothering and trying to make my home a place where my children felt safe and protected. We as parents, felt for the most part that we were successful with this endeavor. But I know there were times when our home wasn't as safe as it should be and as a result, my children were exposed to the influences of the world, feelings of insecurity, and negative conditions. I write this not to excuse or dismiss my actions or lack of them, but rather to free you, my children, from the effects of those times when you were not safe. It has been extremely painful to know that I could and should have done more to protect my precious flock. I have sought forgiveness from the Lord and I seek forgiveness from you as well.
I write that my children may know.....that you do not have to live with those effects. As much as I would give my all to do so, I can not take them away from you. But I do know that you do not need to be burdened with them.. There is freedom, peace and safety through the Savior.