Yesterday, in my backyard we were treated to a mama duck parading with her 9 newly hatched ducklings down our narrow creek. The precious ducklings were so happy frolicking in the tall grass and swimming in the slowly moving water. What the mama duck and babies did not realize is that our backyard “creek” empties into a storm drain in my neighbor’s backyard. Sure enough, two of the ducklings got a little too curious and careless and fell through the grates into the storm drain. The mama duck screeched and herded her remaining babies to a spot of safety and called for her lost ones. It was a moment of crisis for sure.
Luckily for the ducks, I have a very resourceful wife who has a soft-spot in her heart for animals and birds of all kinds. She also has had previous experience rescuing some of God’s creatures in peril. She called to me to help while she frantically reached far down into the drain (my arm likely would not have fit). After a bit of a struggle, she was able to capture one duck and handed him off to me. I made sure that duck found its mama while Sue was trying to capture the other duck. After a few more minutes the other lost duck became tired as was rescued. He waddled off and quickly found his fleet. The mama duck quacked a sigh of relief. Tragedy averted. I love happy endings.
I immediately saw this episode as a metaphor for all parents, Sue and I included. We try as parents to protect our children and teach them everything we can about life to keep them safe. Sometimes, like mama duck, we fail to see the storm drain ahead. Sometimes despite our best efforts, our children become too curious or too careless and fall into the darkness. We can only hope and pray that when that happens, God will provide a rescuer so that our children will be able to come out of the darkness a little stronger and a little wiser. I love happy endings.
I have one lingering question though. When the two lost ducks joined their brothers, sisters and mama, the mama marched them all triumphantly into the woods. How did that mama duck know she had all nine of her ducklings? I didn’t know ducks could count!