Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By by Tara K. E. Brelinsky

5/30/2014 (1 year 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 (1 year 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.


Rosaries, Crosses, Prayer Cards and more... by Catholic Shopping .com


Comments


More Blog

An Encounter With Jesus Through The Hand Of A Child

Image of We are brothers and sisters in Christ and we can't be whole until we are all whole together.

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. NASHVILLE, TN - Three weeks prior to the end of 2014 (good riddance, you crazy year, I am so ... continue reading


Synod on the Family: Perception v. Reality

Image of Pope Francis understands the critical importance of the traditional nuclear family in God's plan for human society in general and for the Church in particular.

By by Justin Soutar (Richmond, VA)

The secular news media has irresponsibly embedded in the public mind its own grossly inaccurate portrayal of the 2014/2015 Synod on the Family, raising vain expectations among the Church's enemies (including dissenters) of doctrinal and disciplinary changes that cannot ... continue reading


Beauty is in the eye of the beholder

Image of One has to look a little deeper to find something other than physical beauty.

By Shelly A. Schneider

Have you ever really thought about that? I'm talking about the heading above. I suppose once you become a spouse and parent the whole "eye of the beholder" thing has some relevance. In my eyes, there is nothing more beautiful on this planet than my husband and our ... continue reading


An Urgent Prayer and Warning - Lest Thy Church Suffer Too Great A Darkness

Image of O Come Let Us Adore Him While We Can!

By Michael Seagriff

Those who have visited here, read my book, I Thirst For Your Love, or frequent Harvesting The Fruits of Contemplation, know how much I value and promote the work of Father Mark and his community, The Benedictine Monks of Perpetual Adoration. Father Mark ... continue reading


Think the grass is always greener? Maybe not.

Image of Kids grow up so fast...we need to enjoy every moment of time.

By Shelly A. Schneider

Are you a 'grass is always greener' person? I was, too, until a seemingly normal Thursday afternoon many, many years ago. Read on. LOS ANGELES, CA - I used to watch moms with teenagers and feel pangs of jealousy.'I can't wait until my kids are old enough to do things ... continue reading


Tribute to an American Catholic Hero

Image of  The 3-cent Iwo Jima stamp was issued July 11, 1945

By Justin Soutar

John Henry Bradley (1923--1994), one of the six Iwo Jima flag-raisers in World War II, may have never considered himself an American Catholic hero, but that's exactly what he was. Whether tending wounded Marines under heavy gunfire in the battlefield or comforting ... continue reading


God said...and I listened

Image of Our daughter, Sam. Most days I feel blessed that she is so similar to me.

By Shelly A. Schneider

I received an e-mail from my friend, and newspaper photographer, Ray Rockwell this morning. It was titled, 'God said 'No.' I'd seen it before, but I decided I might need to read it again. Here's a small part of the text: LOS ANGELES, CA - I asked God to grant me ... continue reading


Our Lost Cathedral Hagia Sophia

Image of Beautiful mosaics in the Hagia Sofia Museum

By Michael Clark

On May 29, 1453, the Christian world lost its first great cathedral, the Hagia Sophia, as Muslim invaders sacked the city of Constantinople finally ending the Roman Empire. The massive church was not spared from the looters, as its treasures and art were either hacked ... continue reading


On Demonic Activity and the Charlie Charlie Challenge

Image of  Such practices like this are against Christian discipleship

By Deacon Ian VanHeusen

As you may have heard, there is a current buzz on the internet around a game in which participants evoke a demon in order to answer questions. The game is called the Charlie Charlie Challenge and it is spreading under the hashtag #charliecharliechallenge. To begin ... continue reading


Chill Out, Martha!

Image of Jesus led Martha to stop the constant busy work and just be with Him.

By Jackie Stammen

I have an image of you in the story of Jesus with Mary, and Martha. You are Martha busy at work in the kitchen. Jesus comes over to you, gently takes your hand, and leads you out of the kitchen and into the gathering room and asks you to sit at his feet and just be ... continue reading


All Blog News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

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

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Genesis 19:15-29
15 When dawn broke the angels urged Lot on, 'To your ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 26:2-3, 9-10, 11-12
2 Probe me, Yahweh, examine me, Test my heart and my ... Read More

Gospel, Matthew 8:23-27
23 Then he got into the boat followed by his ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for June 30th, 2015 Image

First Martyrs of the See of Rome
June 30: The holy men and women are also called the Protomartyrs of ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter