Of God and Baby Ducks

Well, life in the slow lane has come to a grinding halt as spring turns slowly into summer. As you know, life in a big city moves at a certain pace and you have to keep up lest you get honked at, passed by, or run over. There is nothing worse than rushing to get to work or take the kids to school in time for the first bell and encountering the person who has no place to be any time soon. So, you keep up the pace running at break neck speed some days.

Out here on the edges of the country, just past the suburbs, we have different kind of traffic. One that cannot be rushed with the honk of a horn or even passed by with a change of a lane.

Nope, this spring I encountered an all new kind of traffic jam.

Our little corner of the lake is a breeding ground for wildlife. On a daily basis we have about 10 varieties of birds, several kinds of fish, and plenty of turtles. While the fish do not create traffic jams on the street. Believe it or not, the ducks, snakes and turtles do.

Non-venomous neighbor

Non-venomous neighbor

Driving down the street, I now not only watch out for dogs and children, I have to keep my eyes open for new mammas with their babies.

Last week, there was a mamma turtle smack dab in the middle of the road sunning herself, later I discovered her digging a hole to lay her eggs. The turtles are cute from a distance, but up close they are not my favorite neighbors.

I think the ducks are about the cutest things on the lake. The little ones paddle so fast to keep up with their mothers it looks like they are trying to jump on her back. They are highly entertaining to watch as they swim by my kitchen window. Little did I know that I would encounter them somewhere else.

As we were coming home the other afternoon, this is the traffic I encountered.

Duck crossing

As we drove up, the mamma was on the side of the street keeping a watchful eye, her ducklings not far behind. I had heard the ducks like to cross the street to get to our neighbor’s birdbath and feeder, but I had never seen them in action.

Before they started into the street, the mamma walked ahead and made sure the path was safe. When she was confident that we were not going to drive until she passed by, she called to the babies. Somehow, she communicated that it was safe to cross. As she waited like a crossing guard until she got everyone across, I noticed her pacing back and forth protecting the baby birds until they made it to their destination. Once they toddled on, she pulled up the rear to hurry them out of danger. It was the cutest thing.

This mamma duck made me think of the poem The Hound of Heaven by Francis Thompson, a poem much beloved by G.K. Chesterton and J.R.R. Tolkien. In The Hound of Heaven, Thompson describes God’s love as persistent and patient in His pursuit of man’s attention. The subject of the poem is distracted by life and runs away from God, yet God never abandons His pursuit of HIs beloved.

Much in the way that a mamma duck looks after her ducklings, God is looking out for each and everyone of us. We may not always feel this, see His hand, or recognize how He is working behind the scenes. It is especially difficult to recognize Him when we are living in the fast lane, juggling too many plates, and worried about so many daily life choices.

It took this mamma duck about 3 minutes to get her brood across that street, but that was just long enough for God to remind me that He is always on my tail watching out for me.

Pause now, breathe deeply, and ask Jesus to show you just how He is pursuing you today.