Okay, I have to admit, for the first two days, they were on the pond, I thought they were real. My neighbor did, too. She’s 80. I don’t say that in a negative way – she’s very sharp mentally. It’s just funny to me how both of us were taken in by a flock of fake ducks. Even decades of living life and gaining wisdom untold didn’t spare her from the duping.
There HAD been live ducks on the pond twice this winter. Yes, I am sure they were real! The first time, there was just one. Then, he flew away. I say “he” not because I am a waterfowl expert, but because I know from all the Mutual of Omaha, National Geographic and Nature Channel shows I have watched in my life, that males in the bird kingdom are very colorful and the females are drab looking. I know it is so the males can attract a mate and so the mama birds and their babies will be protected, but I can’t help but always chuckle at how the animal kingdom and the human kingdom are so opposite! A few weeks after the male flew the coop, a female bird and her chick (or whatever you call a baby duck – I told you, I am no expert :) came to try out our little pond for a day or two. But again, they soon flew away.
As an avid fan of nature, I was a bit sad at the departure of the three ducks. Until the morning when I looked out my big sliding glass door and spotted THEM…SIX ducks. Not long after our new “neighbors” moved in, as I took my dog out for her morning constitution, I noticed that one of the “ducks” was “resting” near the edge of the pond. I was so excited to get a better look at one of our new feathered friends. As I tiptoed quietly to water’s edge, I hoped my dog wouldn’t frighten the little bird. The “duck” remained absolutely still though, not fluttering a feather. He just kind of floated in a little loop. As I got closer, I realized that something wasn’t right…he looked a little “plastic” – wait a minute, he WAS plastic! He was a decoy, tethered on a fishing line and an anchor…and so were all his fellow waterfowl! Decoys. I had been fooled by decoys!
After a week of the decoys on the pond, one morning I awoke to count seven ducks on the pond! Sure enough, one actual live duck had come to try out our pond! He is a lovely little black and white duck…I call him Freddy.
At first, I felt sorry for Freddy. He would swim from fake duck to fake duck, seemingly inquiring to see if anyone was “home.” No signs of real life. I kind of knew how he was feeling. Lately, I have felt so aware of the people around me – at church and out in the world -- who are alive, but are not really living. They never have “lived” – I don’t even think they know how…and I am not sure they even realize that they are not living or that is more to life than what they know. They APPEAR to be living life – doing the daily stuff of life – but yet, are they functioning the way God intended, really living their PURPOSE? I realize that I have projected my feelings onto a little duck, which may or may not really “feel” any of that when he encounters the real-looking faux ducks on the pond.
I am sad for all the people who are not really “alive” and I am VERY thankful for the close REAL friends that I have. Deep companionship is a rare commodity. Someone who values and displays true transparency, integrity, a real hunger for life and for an intimate relationship with the Creator of the Universe and Savior of our souls is hard to come by. My mom always said that if you have one or two true friends, you are rich indeed! Nonetheless, even though I am blessed with several companions, it gets lonely sometimes on this path…I long for my soul mate, my husband…the one whom God created me to walk with through this life. And also, I long for a deeper companionship with God. He ultimately is the only One Who can fill up this longing inside of me. And so I “see” my loneliness in poor Freddy. I pray for a LIVE friend for him and wonder why God has put these fake and real ducks in my path -- are they only a painful daily reminder of my situation?
Yesterday morning, after a particularly hard week and weekend in the companionship department, imagine my joy when I awakened to find 13 ducks on the pond! I was filled with hope…for Freddy and for me! Wahoo! Thank You, God! However, as I took my dog, Sweetie, out for her morning walk, I went to inspect the new companions on the pond and my delight turned to dismay. The new ducks were more decoys! “What’s up with that?” I asked no one in particular and God in specific.
As I headed back up to my apartment, the Holy Spirit prompted me to look out on the pond, at Freddy. He was going about his business, diving under the water, eating, coming back up, shaking out his feathers, diving back under…enjoying life as it is. The Spirit gently spoke to me, “He has everything he needs. Plenty of food – he doesn’t have to compete with any other ducks. Safety – the decoys make it appear that he is part of a flock. He is the king of the pond. He is not concerned about tomorrow or the future. He trusts that His Maker will provide all he needs, exactly when he needs it. And whenever the time is right, God will provide Freddy with a suitable companion for mating. He is enjoying the life he has been given, taking one day at a time with no worries for tomorrow. It doesn’t even OCCUR to him to be anxious. Rest, child. Be joyful…everything is taken care of.”
May I be more like Freddy.
Thank You, Father God for life lessons through one little live duck and a flock of fake ones.