Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By by Tara K. E. Brelinsky

5/30/2014 (2 years ago)

Blessings In Brelinskyville (brelinskyville.blogspot.com)

Entering Through the Narrow Gate

I guess, like my flocks, we get distracted by our vision of greener pastures. We forget that, in an unexpected hour, day will draw to an end leaving us vulnerable. Inside the fenced field the birds every needs are provided, but the ground looks bare after so much pecking and scratching. Sometimes our faith journey looks that way, sparse and dry on the surface. Then the world and all its enticements beckons our attention and lulls us into abandoning our only true security. We deem the gateway as too constrictive and commit to forging our own way.

No need to run around like a chicken, trust God.

No need to run around like a chicken, trust God.

Highlights

By by Tara K. E. Brelinsky

Blessings In Brelinskyville (brelinskyville.blogspot.com)

5/30/2014 (2 years ago)

Published in Blog

Keywords: chickens, gate, Good Shepherd, Brelinsky, free will


ZEBULON, NC - Holed up in the nursery, the baby had just drifted off to sleep in my arms. It was that blissful moment when eyes finally took rest behind their lids and slumber won out over a fussy little one. The tides of peace and calm had just begun to rise in my mama brain. Yes, that four-walled, pale blue sanctuary was fulfilling its purpose, quarantining us (baby and me) from the bustling household long enough to give rest a chance to settle in.

No sooner had those lids dropped and the tide rolled in, when the five year old Paul Revere rushed in booming, 'The chickens are out, the chickens are out!' Potentially as devastating as a British invasion, loose foul required a call to arms or my husband's fledgling garden faced certain doom. Of course, all tranquility vanished as the baby's eyes flipped up so as not to miss any sibling activity.

Light a virtual candle today

After an immediate rallying of the troops and a changing of the baby guard, I found myself running like a chicken with its head cut off around our backyard. Rake in hand, I tried to shepherd the free ranging foul (which is a bit like running in circles hoping to get somewhere besides where you just were).

Ducks aren't quite as spry as chickens so our web-footed flock readily turned tail and waddled back through the gate. The plump turkey might have stood a chance if not for his long rear plumage which served as a grabbing point for my daughter. But those quick and crafty hens, led by their respective roosters, had us circling through the shrubbery and garden. 

There we were (five of the kids and me) armed with sticks and rakes, like a farmers' militia, shouting strategies up and down the driveway. "Go here...no there." "In the bush...no under the van." Had someone clicked the video record button, I'm sure the scene would have merited entry into some Funniest Videos episode.

Two by two, the kids teamed up to corral the foul as I stood my post at the gateway to our chicken field. Standing there I couldn't help but consider the narrowness of that gate. Sure, just beyond it was a secure area complete with two hen houses, a watering hole and all the compost, feed and tortillas a bird could want for, but our egg layers didn't have the wisdom to weigh their options. In the moment, they were delighted to scour greener pastures and to scratch up piles of fresh mulch without regard to the impending nightfall and its lurking predators.

Opening the gate for the occasional redirected bird, I thought about the Good Shepherd's instruction. He told us simply to enter through the narrow gate because wide and broad is the gate that leads to destruction, and many are those who choose it. 

Most of our chickens avoided that narrow entry since the sun was still high. In fact, the majority that we'd managed to catch returned "home" via air transportation (they got tossed over the perimeter fence). Being creatures of habit, most would have returned to the hen house eventually, but not without leaving a path of destruction in their wake.

God's gift of free will ensures that He won't reach down and fling us over Paradise's perimeter. No, we must choose to direct our own steps down the straight path. Perhaps, our guardian angels might like to chase us back when we stray, but enforcer isn't in their job description (although sometimes I wish it was).

I guess, like my flocks, our vision of greener pastures distracts us. We forget that, in an unexpected hour, day will draw to an end leaving us vulnerable. Inside the fenced field the birds' every needs are provided, but the ground looks bare after so much pecking and scratching. Sometimes our faith journey looks that way, sparse and dry on the surface. Then the world and all its enticements beckon our attention and lull us into abandoning our only true security. We deem the gateway as too constrictive and commit to forging our own way.

Chickens are creatures of habit so most would instinctively head back once the moon rose, but their return would have met a closed gate.  Our job as backyard farmers is to protect our layers and we couldn't put all at risk for the sake of the errant few. Remembering the parable of the late comers in the field, we are assured that Christ's mercy endures for the sincerely repentant, but so too He recounted the story of the foolish lamp bearers who got locked outside missing the bridegroom altogether.

By day's end, through no small effort, the children and I managed to cajole or capture all excepting a handful of hens and their crowing leader, who'd hunkered down in a ditch beside the road (perhaps they were debating the reasons for crossing it). Had an owl or fox come calling in the darkness, those birds would have made an easy meal.

Our Good Keeper gave His all to open the strait for us and He continues to invite us in. Better than any farmer's provisions, we've been promised an eternal harvest if only we are docile enough to enter through the narrow gate before the latch swings closed. 

Tara K. E. Brelinsky is a home schooling mother of eight living children, with six more heavenly ones who intercede. Married to her childhood sweetheart, they make their home in North Carolina where they teach Natural Family Planning, grow a garden, raise two dogs, a cat, ducks, roosters and a flock of hens (in addition to all those wonderful kids). Tara studied journalism a lifetime ago in college, but now she writes simply for the the glory of God. You can read more of her musings and inspirations on her blog "Blessings In Brelinskyville" (www.http://brelinskyville.blogspot.com/). 
Shop now at Catholic Shopping .com

---

Tara K. E. Brelinsky is a home schooling mother of eight living children, with six more heavenly ones who intercede. Married to her childhood sweetheart, they make their home in North Carolina where they teach Natural Family Planning, grow a garden, raise two dogs, a cat, ducks, roosters and a flock of hens (in addition to all those wonderful kids). Tara studied journalism a lifetime ago in college, but now she writes simply for the the glory of God. You can read more of her musings and inspirations on her blog.



Comments


More Blog

Book Review: Encountering The Manuscripts

Image of

By Norm LeDonne

I never gave much thought as to how the New Testament came to be written. I had assumed that someone carefully compiled the various writings sometime in the late 1st century, and that an intact New Testament existed from that time. That being said, I was frequently ... continue reading


Jesus Loves You: Trust in Him!

Image of

By Chaplain Adele M. Gill, RN, BSN, CPC

There is so much to prayer beyond simply asking God for all that we need in this life. When we trust in Jesus, and subsequently praise and worship Him for all that He is, we are surprisingly and profoundly filled with hope for today and eternity, we encounter sublime ... continue reading


Who Am I

Image of

By Norm LeDonne

Humble people often have times in their lives when they receive an honor that they think they did not deserve. This praise may lead them to ask the question "who am I to deserve this?" They consider themselves unworthy of the glory for whatever reason and they question ... continue reading


The Storm of Resistance

Image of

By Jackie Stammen

The powerful winds swirled and twisted around my body as I stood there motionless. It danced so close to me, yet left me completely unscathed. It circled round me as if I was the eye of it's existence standing there in it's center completely calm and at peace. My arms ... continue reading


We Can't Give Up On Marriage

Image of

By Tara K. E. Brelinsky

Considering the recent focus on the family both inside and outside of the Church, it seemed fitting that we'd find ourselves under a spiritual attack, targeted directly at our Achilles's heel. Thus, I wasn't startled to sense that persistent nagging in my gut that ... continue reading


An Encounter With Jesus Through The Hand Of A Child

Image of (Blue Caleel/Pinterest).

By Jackie Stammen

Surprises. Our God is full of surprises. A mentor in my life once told me to expect surprises in life, you are sure to have them. Good or bad, you will experience surprises. Three weeks prior to the end of 2014 (good riddance, you crazy year, I am so glad you are well ... continue reading


The Nails

Image of

By Norm LeDonne

The Nails is a heartfelt ballad by Michael Schroeder, expressing the remorse and love felt by Christians when pondering the great sacrifice that Jesus made for our sins. The song itself is subdued and quite simple in structure and performance. However, this ... continue reading


On Being a Catholic Christian:

Image of

By Chaplain Adele M. Gill, RN, BSN, CPC

Being a Christian today can be riddled with challenges and awkward times. Being a believing Christian is not for the faint of heart, or for those looking for popularity or worldly reward. However, they are compelled to embrace the high road whenever humanly possible, ... continue reading


So Shines a Good Deed in a Weary World

Image of

By Jackie Stammen

Beginning on Saturday of this past weekend, the phrase made popular by Gene Wilder's character in the 1971 film, "Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory," "So shines a good deed in a weary world," has been dancing around in my head. I guess it would be logical for me to ... continue reading


My Winged Messengers

Image of

By Michael Seagriff

Whenever I have been blessed to spend time in the chapel at the retreat house at the Abbey at the Genesee, an assortment of birds always flies above and around the exterior of the chapel as I first begin to pray - carefree, chirping, doing what God created them to do, ... continue reading


All Blog News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Subscribe to Catholic OnlineYouTube Channel

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Job 1:6-22
6 One day when the sons of God came to attend on Yahweh, among them came ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 17:1, 2-3, 6-7
1 [Prayer Of David] Listen, Yahweh, to an upright cause, pay attention to ... Read More

Gospel, Luke 9:46-50
46 An argument started between them about which of them was the ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for September 26th, 2016 Image

Sts. Cosmas & Damian
September 26: Sts. Cosmas and Damian were brothers, born in ... Read More