The second semester of my Erasmus year was only days away. I spent the Friday before the restarting of classes in the Trier Galerie with two of my friends, Emily and Gina. Easter had just passed, but the decorations had not yet been taken down.
On the bottom floor of the shopping centre, we saw something that we didn’t expect – a small mini-chicken coop with baby chicks on display. Tiny newborn chicks, fluffing their bright yellow feathers, cheeping up at the multitudes of human eyes looking down at them. They didn’t know what to make of us, they merely tottered about, pecking at their food.
There was also an incubator where eggs waiting to hatch, were being kept warm inside. Little lives waiting to start and expecting to crack open into this world. But as I moved to get a closer look, I got a nasty shock.
To my horror, among the unhatched eggs, lay the tiny bleeding body of a baby chick. It lay among the shattered pieces of its egg, born far too early for this world. I could see its skeleton, there were no feathers and its eyes were lifeless.
The caretaker of the chicks immediately removed the corpse from the incubator, but spots of blood and pieces from the egg remained inside. I continued on with the rest of my day, but I couldn’t get that baby chick out of my mind.
What had happened to cause that little chick to be born too early? It didn’t even get a chance to grow its wings or meet any of its brothers and sisters. I didn’t even want to think of what the caretaker did with its body.
That little chick reflects on the real fragility of life. Not everybody who is born in this world truly gets to bloom. The premature chick represents the thousands of lives, born too early, only to be returned to heaven. It makes you wonder about what they could have been doing, who they could have become as people.
Life is a sacred blessing and not everyone born in this world, is lucky enough to receive this gift. For those of us fortunate to be able to be alive, we should embrace all that we are able to receive and not miss any opportunities that are available to us.
They’re gone forever if we do.