Strolling through the park today, I was admiring how quickly everything had suddenly turned a vibrant green after a long, harsh winter. All around me trees were blooming, flowers were flowering, and everything was bursting forth in color. The lawn of the park was dotted with yellow dandelions among the green, lush grass. My step practically skipped along feeling the sun on my face after so many months in darkness. I was in a good mood – life was good in my world. Nothing would dampen my spirits.
As I gazed about me, admiring the goodness that God had provided, I spotted a brown and yellow object in the grass. Curious, I approached and noticed the body of a small baby duckling lying in the lawn. His tiny legs splayed out behind him, his head obscured by the grassy tufts, as if he had simply fallen face first. I surmised this was not the case, he did not just fall over from exhaustion, a four footed predator surely had caused his demise. Looking once again upon his tiny, lifeless body, I turned back to the path and continued on my way. It was sad, but it was nature’s cycle.
Just around the bend I heard a splashing in the creek. Glancing into the waters, I saw three more ducklings enjoying their swim. Suddenly, Mamma duck burst forth a loud “Quack!” and they paddled their little lives out rushing back to her safe protection. I smiled at their haste. What were they so afraid of? Mamma ducks sharp eyes darted to me as she lightly pecked each duckling on the head – counting them off to ensure she had the correct number and that I hadn’t pilfered one away from her. Apparently, I had been now cast as the predator. Surely she knew one was already missing. I kept my eye on her while increasing my pace so she would know I was not to blame. My legs scurried along too now.
Up ahead, a cardinal flitted across my path, and then another. Their bright red bodies contrasting boldly against the tree’s greenery. I smiled at their beauty, but then noticed their frantic flying. They touched down lightly on one branch, and then another, avoiding my encroaching gait. They were unsure where to land as I was surely the predator the Mamma duck had warned her children about. I began to feel as though I had been unjustly judged.
Hanging my head, I continued past them so they could ease their tired wings.
On the other side of the park I came across another carcass. He had obviously been picked away by a predator early on in his little life, not yet sporting any feathers. His little bald head lying at a weird angle to the rest of his body, sizzling on the pavement with the hot sun beating down on him. It was a sad scene and I did not linger. His death made me uncomfortable. What if Mamma duck saw me here beside this one? Surely, I would be accused again. She was now missing two of her brood. No wonder she had been so protective of the three that remained. I could do nothing now, so I continued on.
When I made it to the bridge (over troubled waters?) I stopped to watch the other ducks paddling, playing, sleeping, and eating… seemingly unaware of the murders that had happened in their midst. The mother duck was off down the creek – perhaps these relatives did not know of her troubles. They seemed to frolic with abandon.
Then it hit me: Do we stop to console others in our lives that are facing hardships, or do we meander on past, too caught up with our own troubles and fun-planned activities like these ducks playing in the water? Sometimes it’s hard to know what to say or what to do to help others. Sometimes we can even ignore those that are in need simply because we don’t know what to do or it makes us feel uncomfortable. But we can always pray.
As I made my way back to my car, I said a small prayer for the remaining little ducklings as well as those people in my life who are grieving or struggling. I do not want to simply pass them by with only my selfish needs and desires being met. Even though I can’t help those ducklings now, or even the ones still living, I can call on my God to protect them, just as I can pray for my friends and family on a daily basis. Knowing that God will watch out for them, even when I can do nothing.
Who can you pray for today?