Thursday, May 13, 2010

Walk Like a Duck

This morning I was rushing down Orangethorpe Avenue trying to get the kids to school. Why was I rushing? Well I'm a mom with three kids and it's Thursday, doesn't that pretty much sum it up? As I was driving down the street I noticed that the cars were approaching the railroad tracks at an extremely slow pace. I couldn't figure out what the deal was. I was in the slow lane where the car in front of me was barely moving, if at all. I tried to get over into the fast lane to hurry past it, but all the cars behind me were beating me to the punch, and so I was stuck behind this curious slow car when all of a sudden it pulled away to the fast lane, and I found myself staring at a small family of ducks trying to cross a very busy road.

In a split second I went from wondering what the delay was making me more late, to trying to figure out how to protect this daredevil of a mother duck and her six little precious ducklings following along. I watched nervously as the mother would start to try to cross over into the fast lane, all the while watching the cars hurry into it to pass me from behind.

Mama duck would start to turn, babies following, a car would pull around. I would hit my horn, trying to warn both the duck and the driver of one another's presence, and mama duck would "pull back into my lane" and the car would drive on. But she was determined, she wasn't going to head back to the side of the road where safety might be found, she was going to cross the road, and the side I was driving on was just the start of it. Honestly, if I could have, I would have asked her the obvious question, "Why did the duck cross the road?" But now wasn't the time, at that moment I was just trying to figure out how to keep her from getting squished.

Finally she went for it, into the fast lane, and the car that was coming up alongside me saw her just in time and stopped. He turned towards me and got a big grin on his face, I smiled back nodding. Watching this mama and her dedicated followers trying to cross the road really was a precious sight to see. As the driver beside me stopped Mama finally made her way across to the other side of the road, babies all in tow.

It was only then that I thought to grab my phone and take this picture. The smiling driver in the other car took a picture as well. Aren't they just the cutest? I wish my cell phone took better pictures, because this really doesn't quite do them justice. Six faithful little followers, they stayed right on mama's tail. As she was trying to cross, she would step toward the left, and then when a car sped by or I honked my horn and she moved back to the right, they would do the same thing exactly, instantly. It was the most adorable little zigzag of a dance. Mama would take a step to the left, then a step to the right, and they were right in sync with her.

I have to say as a mom, I had a lot of respect for her. I only have half as many "little ones" following after me, and unlike her orderly little brood, my three were always moving in at least 10 different directions. But not her kids, they followed her step by step. So my overwhelming insight watching this little brood wasn't actually related to what kind of parent I am, but more about what kind of kid I am. Not in relation to be a child of my earthly parents, but this got me to thinking all about what kind of daughter I am to my heavenly Daddy.

I know the Bible talks about us being like sheep, but it's not a very flattering image in my mind when I consider it. When I think of us as sheep, I think of the mass of us just pushing around following whoever seems to be most sure of where they are going. And I picture the shepherd, our Good Shepherd continually have to reach in with His staff and pulling us back from danger and our own foolishness. I see Him loving, and patient, but I see us as just needing to be saved from ourselves, without wisdom, and without any real focus.

These little ducks impressed me though. They still didn't know where they were going, very much like the sheep, but they were completely aware of who they were following, and not for a single moment did they allow themselves to become distracted from the one who was in the lead. It struck me, that if there was logic involved, this little crowd was headed in the exact opposite direction of what made sense. I don't know where Mama Duck was headed, but it seemed very apparent that she surely knew where she was headed.

Those little ducks were actually wise in their ignorance. The best place for them to be was following Mama. She would lead them to the place of provision, she would lead them to where they would be safe, to where they belonged. It was interesting, because I saw no sign of anxiety or panic among the little followers. I think of times I have driven my car past a bird walking on the ground, and they always jump and flutter in panic. I didn't see any of that among these little ducks, despite the many fast cars moving through traffic only feet away. Mama was determined, she would take steps forward, when necessary she would turn another way, but continually she moved toward her destination. Those little followers, never for a moment did they do anything other than focus on her, they didn't look at the cars, or the road, even each other, they all focused on mama, and they all stayed in perfect step.

It occurred to me, that's the kind of "kid" I want to be. I want to be so focused on my Daddy, that wherever He leads me, nothing else would distract me. Even if it didn't seem to make sense to me, I want to have the kind of faith that is founded in the "Who", not a "where" and not a "what." I want to be so confident in Him, that all I keep before me, is following Him, wherever He may lead, whatever it may mean I have to face. I want to do it with the same kind of confidence because I know I am following my heavenly Father there.

As the ducks finally crossed over to the other side of the road, I will confess I was really worried about their well-being, traffic was coming on strong and fast from the opposite direction. I still wanted to stay and make sure the mother and her babies made it to safety, but treffic would no longe rwait, and we did have school to get to. I did drive back by later to make sure I didn't find any duck remains, and I am happy to report mama must have led her brood on safely to their destination. It was definitely an "iffy" situation, one big car moving too fast, and the little ducks could have been no more.

That, however, isn't true of us when we "walk like a duck" behind our heavenly Father. When we keep our heart and minds completely focused on Him, determine to follow Him step for step, we don't have to worry about something bigger or stronger taking Him, or us down. God is bigger than any circumstance or challenge that may seem to be coming towards us, even if at the force and speed of a mack truck. Unlike that mama duck who is vulnerable and limited in her ability to protect her children, her "followers", nothing and no one can come between us and our God, and nothing can touch us that He does not allow through the protective filter of His love and grace.

Teach me Father, to follow You, like those little ducks followed their mama, with confidence and peace, confidently knowing You will watch over me and mine and keep us safe. Help me to remember there is nowhere I can go that You are not with me. Help me to remember that I trusted you with my eternal destination, and I can certainly trust you with every step I take on the road to get to it. Father, teach me to "walk like a duck," and follow You in confidence wherever you may lead, in Jesus' name.

He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High
will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.
I will say of the LORD, "He is my refuge and my fortress,
my God, in whom I trust."
Surely He will save you from the fowler's snare
and from the deadly pestilence.
He will cover you with His feathers,
and under His wings you will find refuge;
His faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.
You will not fear the terror of night,
nor the arrow that flies by day,
nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness,
nor the plague that destroys at midday.
A thousand may fall at your side,
ten thousand at your right hand,
but it will not come near you.
You will only observe with your eyes
and see the punishment of the wicked.
If you make the Most High your dwelling—
even the LORD, who is my refuge-
then no harm will befall you,
no disaster will come near your tent.
For He will command his angels concerning you
to guard you in all your ways;
they will lift you up in their hands,
so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.
You will tread upon the lion and the cobra;
you will trample the great lion and the serpent.
"Because he loves Me," says the LORD, "I will rescue him;
I will protect him, for he acknowledges My Name.
He will call upon Me, and I will answer him;
I will be with him in trouble,
I will deliver him and honor him.
With long life will I satisfy him
and show him My salvation."

Psalm 91

1 comment:

Core Training Service said...

Diana, What a coll story and what a brave mother duck. Remind me to tell you my duck story sometime. I'll warn you now it doesn't have a happy ending but it does teach a lesson. Bye for now. Blessings.
David Mount
1 Jn. 3:16