Shell Shock

Shell Shock November 16, 2022

Image by Stefan from Pixabay

A. The Crisis

The little shell-enshrouded chick, wrapped in its supply of food, was very happy until he began to realize that supplies were diminishing rather quickly. Now his laid-back life turned to panic, so he began to gobble up the remaining food as quickly as possible. But he couldn’t forestall the inevitable. Eventually only a single morsel remained. He pecked at it furiously and, suddenly, he breached the shell. He hadn’t even realized that he was living in a shell. It was his entire world, and now it all began to fall apart. Pecking at some remaining tiny mini morsels, he created a larger hole. He stopped pecking and cocked his little head to one side. Strange sounds, which heretofore had been experienced as muffled background clucking, now took on an intriguing clarity – almost like a language. His curiosity overcame his trepidation, and he stuck his head out of the hole. A large eye, topped by a red comb, was looking lovingly at him. Somehow it felt familiar, so he clambered out of the shell – a little yellow, furry fellow.

He was fascinated by what he saw, but soon he felt a little cold, so the all-seeing eye with the red comb, nudged him under her feathery body. On his way in, he noticed a bunch of other fractured and abandoned shells. Next, he realized that he was part of a family: five or six other little yellow balls were also sheltering from the cold. Over the course of the next week, he made regular sorties out from under the breast feathers into the vast, wondrous cosmos of the hen enclosure, trying out his eyes and his legs.

B. The Lesson

In old age, he became a philosopher, and he realized two things. First, it is our hunger that allows us to break out of the confines of our previous homes and cosmologies. And second, the apparent catastrophes – like running out of food or destroying our homebase – are, in fact, the tools of self-liberation and transformation.

What hunger will liberate us now? What crisis will unveil the ‘kingdom of God’ for our times? That clucking sound you’ve heard – that is the sound of Spirit saying, “Break free. I’ve been longing to meet you!”

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