© 2011 Marta VanGerwen
“God loves each of us as if there were only one of us.” St. Augustine
It was a fabulous summer day! And having my granddaughter visiting from New York City was the bonus. I took her to a local park that has a beautiful man-made lake filled with ducks. With a bag of bread in hand we began feeding a few early arrivals. And before I could get the next piece out we were inundated by a swarm. Big ones, little ones, yellow and brown ones, and mean ones that nipped at you. Emma was quickly showing signs of wishing she were elsewhere. I found myself planning our escape. What I envisioned to be a memory making moment with Emma, was quickly turning into – what not to do when feeding ducks.
“Um Nana can we go now?”
“Oh! But Emma this is so much fun,” I proclaimed with hopes that my positive affirming words could change the situation. And then I noticed the ONE! Isn’t interesting how one little moment can become so significant by just pausing to observe.
Its shiny white feather coat stood out among the variety of ducks. And I was unexpectedly captured by its predicament. By now there were at least 30 ducks that had encircled us. Fighting for every crumb we threw out. It was each duck for his own. Like a stampede. “Look out or you will die, if you get it before me” – mentality. And there she stood in the midst of this aggression – trying to survive. I began to throw the pieces right in front of her, but the others would quickly snag them up. By this time the sad white duck had me wrapped around its web feet. Let me explain my fixation with this particular duck. One of its feet was turned sideways causing it to walk very slowly. It was helpless, lost, and isolated.
After numerous attempts to get the crumbs the special duck had given up trying. Every attempt was a failure. And without even looking back my new duck friend turned and purposefully walked away defeated by its scenario.
“Emma, come with me,” I yelled across the chorus of quacking. Happily she found her way to me and held on as we made our way through the crowd. I was now on a mission. Out of all the ducks I wanted to reach the ONE. I looked around to see where it had gone. And there it lay on a bed of grass looking exhausted.
“What are we doing Nana?”
“We are going after the ONE that needs us the most. See that ONE over there” as I pointed. “It’s hurt Emma. It needs special attention.”
My quest now became Emma’s. She was fully on board with our new mission. Her circumstantial fear turned into courage for the ONE. Just moments ago she was ready to go, but now seeing the need – her heart shifted. It is truly amazing what happens to us when we are taken up by the needs of others. It’s like we were created to shine the most when our attention is on someone else.
So we slowly approached my duck. Yes, she was now my duck. With carefulness and tenderness we entered her world. She stood up amidst her difficulty and welcomed the special attention. She took bread right out of my hand. Emma and I spent the next moments just feeding the ONE duck. No more throwing the food from a distance. We were no longer on the outside looking in, we were now in the inside looking out. That place in our lives where empathy and compassion overrides our human selfishness.
It was evident that our special duck was quite hungry because it could not get enough. After a while it stopped eating and delicately made its way down to the lake and drank water for a few minutes. We then approached it again and fed it the remaining pieces of bread. My heart was apprehended by this scene. The Lord would use a hurt and weary duck to paint a picture in my mind of His deep compassion and love for us. How He leaves the crowd to go after the ONE. How he loves us not from a distance but enters into our world. He sees our pain. He is acquainted with every need we have in our life. He understands our struggles. God’s love and compassion is HIS resounding signature upon mankind.
For God so loved the world….that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. John 3:16
I continued to think about why this scene had impacted me so much. And then I realized I was like that duck. In the crowd. Lost. Trying to survive. Hurt. Lonely. Isolated. Needing special attention. I too was trying to keep up with the crowd. Reaching for whatever morsel was thrown out by the world. But it always fell short of reaching my need. And then one day Jesus left the crowd, entered my world and saved me. I was the ONE.
” What man among you, if he has a hundred sheep and has lost ONE of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the open pasture and go after the ONE which is lost until he finds it? ” Jesus
But wait! YOU are the ONE too! Maybe you have your story as to how He left the crowd to come after you. Or maybe you are in the crowd and are struggling. Whatever our scenario may be God is looking out for the ONE. Will we accept His unconditional love, or will we continue to rely on the emptiness the world offers.
When He went ashore, He saw a large crowd, and felt compassion for them and healed their sick. Matthew 14:14
Where does the Lord fit into your journey? Have you given everything else in this world a chance but Him? God’s love supersedes anything we could ever experience in this world. Be the ONE!!!
Grace to you…and peace from God…
More to come from Risen Dreams…as always I welcome your comments…
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