In the summer of 2012, I was sitting at my dining room table. It was Saturday morning, and because I’d been slammed professionally for the better part of the year, I was working. (As usual.) Kory was at church putting some finishing touches on a sermon he was preaching in the coming weeks, and the kids were riding bikes and big wheels on the sidewalk in front of our house.
All of a sudden, I began to hear a faint sound in the distance. But as it came closer, I recognized it to be the shrill screams of my two oldest children. As they barged through the garage door into our kitchen, my heart began to race. And I wondered,
Who was hurt?
How bad was it?
But then they explained. A duck had been “shot.” It was hurt. And it needed my help.
What in the world?
I flew out of the chair I was sitting in and ran barefoot down the hot pavement to where my kids were leading me. And there, four houses down and across the street, sat two mallard ducks. A male and a female. Embedded in the breast of the female was a blow dart about 10 inches in length. It had entered her body through her back and was sticking out her breast. It pierced her flesh and some muscle, but I couldn’t tell if it had pierced any internal organs.
Who would do such a thing?
Thinking she wouldn’t be able to move very quickly, I approached her with the hope that I could simply pick her up and take her to the vet. But every time I inched close to her, she limped away, and her male companion followed. After an hour of trying to catch her myself, I gave up and went home to call animal control and several other organizations I was hoping might be able to help me. To no avail. Even though my vet had offered to care for her at no charge, I couldn’t find a single organization that would come to our neighborhood to catch the duck so that she could be given medical attention.
Every day for several months, we would see her waddling through our neighborhood, with her male companion following close by. And we would try to get close enough to catch her. Our neighbors tried too. But then fall came, and she disappeared. I assumed that her injuries finally got the best of her and that she died.
Fast forward to May of 2013. The day we moved out of our home of seven years to begin our new adventure in ministry. It was a cool, rainy day. The weather matched our moods. While we packed boxes inside our house, our kids splashed in puddles outside with their neighborhood friends, enjoying their last play day together before we said goodbye.
Suddenly, I began to hear a stampede of little feet in rain boots running up our driveway and into our garage. Led by my two oldest children, a group of neighborhood kids barged through my back door, shouting at the top of their lungs.
“Mommy, Mommy!” they yelled. “Guess what? The duck is back!”
I couldn’t believe it. I dropped the packing tape I was holding and followed them outside. And there she was. Sitting in my front yard basking in the rain with her male companion stationed closely by. (What a loyal fellow he was.) The blow dart still remained. I watched her for a few minutes and then decided I would try to catch her one last time.
But this time, as I approached her, she didn’t waddle away.
I gasped for breath as I watched her leave the ground. And as I stood in my yard, watching her fly away with her male companion behind her, I thought about the journey we were embarking upon. I knew it would be difficult and that challenges would come. I knew we would miss things about our past that would never be replaced. I knew we were leaving a part of us behind. And I knew there were no guarantees.
But I also realized the possibilities. I thought about our dreams for our family and our ministry. And I considered how God would use us along the way. And then I wondered, as the duck with the blow dart piercing her side, disappeared over the rooftops of my neighborhood,
Are we going to waddle our way through this journey or are we going to soar?
Does something have you on the ground today?
But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.