My husband retired in May, and I’m pretty sure he’s about to embark on a new career as a yenta. Only, instead of romantic matches, he finds people a family.
Well, not actually people. He finds families for lonely ducks. He has a gift.
A couple of years ago, we purchased a bunch of baby mallards for our pond. We were told that if we feed them and give them everything they need, they’ll stick around, which is sort of true. Most of them stuck around for a while, until they got taken down by predators. I’ve found enough tragically-placed duck feathers to start a mattress company. After a while, the rest of the ducks flew away—all but one.
Our poor little loyal, lonely mallard has floated by himself on our pond for almost a year now. Every once in a while a group of whistler ducks will land, and he’ll get really excited, and then they’ll fly away. And he’ll follow them for about a mile before returning home, dejected and forlorn. It’s the saddest thing you’ve ever seen.
So several weeks ago, my husband saw a couple of white baby ducks for sale. He paid $5 for both of them. They were still too young to set free at the pond, so we kept them in the chicken pen. About a week ago, it was time to introduce them to the water.
We shooed them out of the pen, across the driveway, and through the yard. They looked at us like we might be planning a duck dinner, quacking and squawking in protest. When they got to the pond, we had to force them into the water; they’d never been immersed before. But once they felt that cool fluid on their flippers, they completely forgot about their humans on dry land. They dipped and ducked and flapped their wings and slung water everywhere and had a grand old time.
And mallard, being the hospitable host he is, swam over right away to welcome them. They talked and quacked and dunked and splashed and played until the two white ducks decided they’d had enough. They waddled out of the pond, all the way back to the pen, leaving mallard behind, wondering what he’d done wrong.
The next several days were repeats of that scene, only each day the white ducks stayed a little longer. And each day when they left, mallard looked sad.
Yesterday, three ducks left the pond.
Yesterday, three ducks waddled across the yard.
Yesterday, three ducks spent the night in the chicken pen. It was their first sleepover. It wasn’t exactly what we envisioned when we got ducks for our pond, but hey. Whatever works for them.
I wonder how many people reading this are lonely. And I wonder, of those lonely people, how many of you have been lonely for so long, you feel like it will never change. I know what that feels like. And so does God.
We were designed for relationships, which tells me God does not want us to be lonesome. And He tells us in His Word that if we ask anything according to His desires for us, He will do it. So I’m pretty sure, if we ask Him, He will send people into our lives to become our friends, our family, our herd.
I wonder if our little mallard asked God for a new family. Do ducks pray? I don’t know. But I know God cares for the flowers and the birds and every living thing. And I know He cares for us, too.
Renae Brumbaugh Green is a bestselling author and award-winning humor columnist. She lives in Stephenville with her handsome, country-boy husband, nearly-perfect children, and far too many animals. Connect with Renae at www.RenaeBrumbaugh.com.