Trash Pickin’ with a Chicken



This October marks this blog’s two year anniversary. I’ve been writing my other blog for about the same length of time. And in these two years of posting, one thing I’ve learned: people like to read about chickens. They’re vogue.

Odd, isn’t it.

Could it be that more important subjects could be brought to general attention via this chicken interest? TRUMP Kisses Chicken. Clinton Reveals Her Design for Better Nesting Box. Trump: A Chicken in Every Pot!!  Nah. Those guys are doing fine without chickens.

But a guy like Owen might need a glamour boost.



Looking into my third year of writing for you here, I recommit to the original purpose and to the title of this blog, Embracing Chaos. The purpose was not to talk about the chaos – nor about Chaos himself – fun a it is to tell stories on Owen. The embracing part is what people really don’t get. What I didn’t get for a long time. Nice as the words sound, how do you bend gracefully, and embrace chaos?  What does that mean? That’s what my life’s journey is to find out.

In many ways, I began to get the beauty of Owen and the mayhem that comes with him when I started writing about him.Funny isn’t it how you can know a thing – but then know it – then really get it. Probably you can really get it numerous times. I’ll bet the lessons can go on that way, deeper and deeper, and on and on. Funny if after all the work we do for years to make, and create, and build, the thing for us to get might be how to give up (the illusion of) control.

But chaos is not unique to parents of kids with disabilities. Everyone experiences this. Chaos. The lack of control. Isn’t this part of why people love frightening roller coaster rides? To experience total lack of control, and come out ok at the other end. Your life, in miniature, and super fast. It’s a funny way of telling yourself Despite appearances, everything will be ok.

If this blog is successful, going forward into its new year it will speak to people with all types of experiences with the uncontrollable, the tsunamis in their lives, and all kinds of learning to embrace lack of control over them. This is a blog about CHAOS, and EMBRACING. Everybody has some.

When people don’t know what else to say to be supportive, if confronted by a handicapped child and his mom or dad they may say things like, “You must be a special person to have been given this job” or  “God knew you could handle this” or “I don’t know how you do it” or even “I would have left.” But these sentences exactly describe how I feel when I watch my friend Carina teaching Phys Ed to multiple combined  classes of squealing primary school kids. This is how I feel when I read FaceBook posts from my niece Justine, who is far from home, pregnant, morning sick, and caring for a vivacious toddler full time. (And I even did that once!) I really don’t know how you do it. I think I would leave.

I have a dear friend who is one of my Other Mothers, (one mom is never enough) named Gray and she recently shared this thought: “The more I read Arcana Celestia [a sacred text of her faith], the more I realize I don’t know what good is.” I had no idea what she meant, so I waited.  Gray explained that knowing the truth is easy compared to being able to see what, in a person’s life, at a point in time, could be called “good.” What they need, to become whole, or close to God. What events/choices, will lead to long-term happiness.

At first you think knowing good from bad is way easy – pain is bad, happy is good, right? – until you look backward and realize that some of your most aversive experiences, the most annoying jobs, the most difficult people, have taught you the most about yourself, who you do and don’t want to be. Even the painful, horrible experiences, or the terrible screw ups, can transform you. Sometimes people are transformed for the worse at first by tough things happening, but over time become enriched by processing that same old bad thing. So, were those bad experiences bad, or really in the end good? It’s a humbling reflection.

Coming back to the garden imagery, chickens and all, humans would like to think that Fairy Godmothers transform us, with pumpkins and magic. Really, it’s a lot more likely to be the manure. That chicken poo is potent stuff. At first it burns, but over time…well, that’s what soil is.

I am not a special person, even after being worked over by Owen for 23 years. I will take credit for not leaving, not climbing on that mythic bus to sunny Mexico. But I am just another trash picker with you, on a walk through the woods. Owen and other contributors to the chaos of my life will surely teach me again and again the lessons of EMBRACING my lack of control. Chaos, it turns out, may be the fairy godmother. And there is no short-cut to transformation. So I guess I’ll let the chickens peck the pumpkins.