Therapy can look very different for some people. The ailments we battle in this life can very just as widely as the remedies we employ to combat them. It really doesn’t matter what method we used to cope with life as long as it is healthy, and productive. Doris Ledet found chickens.
You see, Doris was diagnosed with Bipolar and Schizoeffective disorders. She said, “I often felt like a chicken with its head cut off, running around, just trying to function in life.” And that description is certainly filled with irony, since it would be chickens that helped her manage her condition and be able to function in life.
Doris found chickens. Well, her husband brought her some chickens anyway. Through the process of learning about, growing, and managing chickens she discovered truths about herself and life that have helped her become more than just her diagnosis. I guess you can say that her chickens (and turkeys, raccoons, emus, and various other wildlife) speak to her. I don’t mean that she hears voices, but the way they live their lives, interact with each other, and relate to her have spoken volumes to her about her value, and the grand design of this life that we live in, designed by a loving God who cares for us.
“I had problems with self worth,” said Ledet. “I realized that my chickens loved me no matter what.” You see, one day, Doris went outside with her chickens just to clear her mind. She didn’t go outside with the intention of feeding, or caring for her chickens in any way, yet they came running to her. They didn’t all run away just because she wasn’t feeding them. They just stayed right there near her. “I realized that my chickens valued me. I realized that they had been entrusted to me. I had responsibility for their health, safety, sustenance, care. They would likely not survive without me. I was suddenly overwhelmed (in a positive way) with the fact that I had been entrusted with them, and it was almost like they recognized that fact and loved me all the more for it.”
Ledet went on to explain how the animals under her care helped her understand some of the deeper things in life, and death. “When brand new chicks come into the world, it is a beautiful and amazing thing to behold. Very quickly I learned that some chicks survive and some don’t. A chick may hatch and die two days later, or they might live for ten years, and there isn’t necessarily a clearly visible reason as to why. I can do everything right, and some still don’t make it. I can make some mistakes and they live a long, beautiful life. I began to understand that death is a natural part of life. Being able to process that through my chickens helped me be prepared to process that when I would lose loved ones in my family, later in life.”
While on this journey, Ledet also explains how caring for her animals has helped her come to a better understanding of God’s love for us. “I can clearly see a description of how I should relate to God through caring for my chickens. My chickens trust me. They know I’m there to care for them, to protect, and provide for them. I know they don’t always understand why I do the things I do for them. They don’t get mad at me and stop loving me though. There seems to be an understanding that if I’m doing something for them, then it is good because I am good to them always, so they trust. They have helped me relate to God in the same manner. Just like I don’t owe my chickens an explanation as to why I do what I do for them, the things I do for them are ok, simply because I know the plans I have for them. My plans are always to provide for, and protect them. God’s relationship with me is the same. I don’t have to understand what He is doing. I just have to know that He is always good, and everything He does (or allows) is somehow in my best interest, even if I can’t see it. That realization brings me peace.”
I asked Doris if she gave advice to others about how to start caring for chickens, and she said she did. “I am more than happy to offer advice or guidance for somebody who thinks that caring for chickens might help them. I’m also open to having people come and sit with my chickens, just to relax and lose the world for a while.” Ledet has even been writing blogs about her experiences detailing some of the areas she’s grown in her understanding of life, through caring for her chickens, with the intent being that other’s might learn from her experiences. You can find her blogs at www.thechickenista.com .
“Wings and a Prayer Farm,” that is the name of Ledet’s place of peace, where she finds solace, healing, and restoration. It is a place that helps her cope with the issues in life that she faces. It is, however, much more than that. It also serves as a model that instructs us that healing can come in many different forms. Ledet hopes that her example will inspire others to seek healing from whatever they’re facing in life. If you’d like to know more about her journey, and possibly beginning your own, feel free to connect with her on Facebook. Just search for “wings and a prayer farm.”