For you created my inmost being, you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made. (Psalm 139:13-14)
I have always loved this verse from scripture; in fact I have it on my living room wall. A recent experience with hatching chicks has really opened that verse up for me.
This all began in Fall when I decided that since my daughter is fully remote that I would give her lots of opportunities for hands-on learning experiences at home. I came across an organization that let’s you hatch chicks by renting the equipment and supporting you through the process. This is the same program that many schools use every year but due to the pandemic have not been participating in this year. Since I have also been trying to think of ways to support some family‑owned businesses that might be struggling I decided to take part in Hatch the Chicken.
The way it works is they drop off seven fertilized chicken eggs, the incubator, the cage to put the chicks into, and all supplies you will need for your five-week journey. One aspect that we found particularly enjoyable was candling the eggs. You hold a bright light on the end of the egg and in as little as 4 days you can already see the eye of your little chick and some movement. My daughter and I both squealed with excitement when we found out that all seven of our chicks were developing. We enjoyed daily check ins on our little embryos and monitoring their growth. It was amazing to see the veins develop that would provide nourishment to the growing chicks and think about what they would be like.
After three weeks of waiting all seven of our chicks hatched and were ready to be transferred to the cage. To say our joy was overwhelming would be an understatement. It is very rare that all seven eggs make it to hatching during this process. We were not aware that one of the chicks, who we named Glorious Genevieve, would only survive for about 24 hours. My daughter and I were so sad to watch this little one fade away and really tried everything we could to save her. Unfortunately, that wasn’t possible. We then had a makeshift funeral for the chick and turned our attention to caring for the six remaining chicks that were growing strong.
During the rest of the time they were with us another chick got injured and we had to make a splint to help heal her legs. This was difficult because there was no way for us to explain to our sweet chick named Colorful Cecelia that this Band-Aid holding her legs together was for her own good. Finally at the end of the 5 weeks we brought the chicks back to the farm where they will continue to grow and live. Letting go and trusting that the love we shared would never change was difficult but a great lesson that sometimes loving means letting go when there is something better for your loved one.
Looking back, I see so many lessons that my daughter was able to gain from this experience, but I was also surprised with how many I was taught. The dignity God has given to His creation to bring life into hidden places and provide for every nourishment needed to help His creatures to grow and flourish. How much He truly loves us and every single one of His creations, down to the last mosquito. And just like Colorful Cecelia, sometimes our hearts will be broken or confused but He is ceaselessly trying to help heal our wounds even when it makes us uncomfortable. Thank you, God, for never giving up on me and always taking care of my every need. May I always learn to praise You, even in the uncomfortable and confusing moments of life.
Christine Dufresne has been a Promised Pauline Cooperator for 5 years. Originally from New Bedford, MA, she served at a mission in Kentucky for 16 months before moving back to MA where she currently lives in Norwood. In addition to being a foster parent, she has been working with children in various ways for the past 25 years, helping with the children’s program on retreats and with the Holy Family Institute group in Boston, and is currently a nanny for several families. She serves as a Eucharistic minister in her home parish of St. Catherine’s in Norwood. Most recently she has completed her studies and is awaiting graduation with her Bachelor’s in Psychology/Human Services. She has embarked on latest part of her journey to adoption from foster care of a sweet seven year old little girl. God is Good!!!