Alexandra just walked into my office to tell me that she thinks our rooster, Happy, is dying.
Before we talk more about that…
Yes, our rooster’s name is Happy.
Emerson and Eleanor are phenomenal pet namers. We have Happy the Rooster, Lovey and Floppy and Spikey and Longbeak and Goldie the chickens.
Then there’s Zap—the dog that showed up on our property one New Year’s Day a couple of years ago and adopted us. And don’t forget Wags, another awesome dog who decided he wanted to move in one day as well.
If you’ve ever listened to one of my Zoom calls, you’ve probably heard a rooster in the background.
Sometimes, I have to admit, I find his crow charming while other times I find it distracting—whether it’s on a Zoom or in my morning meditation when he’s doing his thing RIGHT outside my office window.
This rooster is truly an awesome rooster. We hatched him ourselves and he does his job protecting his hens Heroically well and he’s not an ornery guy like his dad rooster was.
When Alexandra came in and told me she thinks he’s dying (while she does her country-nurse thing with him to try to save him!), I felt a deeper sense of sadness than I’ve felt when we’ve lost some other chickens and found other dead creatures on the property.
I always use those moments as another Stoic reminder of Memento Mori but this one hit me deeper.
I really like this guy!!
Then I thought of a story Alexandra shared once. It was about bread crumbs.
I forget the relationship book from which she got the wisdom but the basic idea was this…
In a significant long-term relationship with ANYONE (let alone a spouse or kids) there will INEVITABLY be things about that person that annoy you.
Maybe they leave bread crumbs on the counter (which irritated the author of the book who told the story) or maybe they leave the dishes out or maybe they leave their Legos all over the house if they’re kids (which, in his less-than-enlightened moments can irritate the author of this +1 😉).
Or maybe they do any number of things people do because they’re human and none of us are perfect.
It’s easy to find those little things annoying.
Those breadcrumbs or dishes or Legos or whatever weren't there because that loved one was no longer there?
All of a sudden we’d MISS those breadcrumbs or dishes or Legos or whatever.
That’s what I thought of when I heard Happy might not make it. He hasn’t been crowing for the last several days because he hasn’t been feeling great. I already miss him.
And I want to make sure I don’t let those little things my kids and wife and others do that I might find annoying distract me from the fact that their presence in my life—with ALL the imperfections—is a profound GIFT.
In fact, what I try to do these days is use those VERY things I used to find annoying as THE TRIGGER for me to appreciate just how blessed I am.
I hope our rooster makes it so I can remind myself of this wisdom every time I hear him crow.