I sent this letter out to dear folks in my life 10 years ago. Aunt Ginny just rediscovered it and sent it back to me. It’s fun to learn from your previous self.
May 26, 2010
So I just wanted to share a little preciousness with ya’ll. Last week this mama duck laid 5 eggs in a flowerbed against the east side of the Humanitarian Center in the parking lot. It appears that her husband was flattened in the road the same day. So this single mom has been vigilantly guarding her nest all day, every day, in the rain and snow.
About 200 people walk by her coming in to the center, during breaks and then again when they leave. Quite a few of them have noticed her… thus you see the orange peels and bread pieces. Yet until yesterday, none of us thought to give her water. I took out a cup of water and, as is her usual response to people getting closer, she got really protective, flapped her wings and hissed. But once I set it close to her and backed off, she closely examined it then started drinking. OH that poor little gal was thirsty! Then she perked right up and started tightening up her nest, pulling it all closer to her and making things tidy. She was refreshed and happy. She even cleaned herself up a little.
I find myself thinking about this duck a lot with different analogies. This morning I was thinking how often there are people around us who are left alone to a daunting task. Not understanding their plight, sometimes we judge them, sometimes we simply watch them with interest, sometimes we walk by without even noticing this little miracle happening under our nose, and sometimes we choose to help.
For a few days I simply watched this mama with great compassion in my heart, hoping for her success and glad to see that others had given her bread. It wasn’t until yesterday that I gave her water. DUH. WATER! Such a simple, life-sustaining thing that she couldn’t leave her nest unprotected for, nor could she survive too long without it. And it took HOW long for this to occur to me? And then this morning someone else put another cup of water for her and some fresh bread, and then someone else called the department of wildlife services to see what they suggested we do to protect her.
How many times do I walk past others performing service who, in order to keep serving, are in need of ‘water’ (encouragement, help with a task, etc), when I have resources that are EASILY accessible to me and wouldn’t inconvenience me at all and yet it doesn’t occur to me how a simple act on my part could “save a duck and thereby her ducklings” and even inspire others to reach out as well. And maybe when I reach out, someone will hiss at me for a second too. But maybe in my day to day routine there’s something I can do to help someone serve. And in the end it will probably be ME who feels more blessed by the service. But that’s okay too.
Monday morning in the snow