Where she came from, I don’t know.
Why she picked that road, I don’t know.
And why she brought her kids along was beyond me.
From everything I could see, she didn’t have the sense God gave a goose.
Eastbound on the frontage road at the perpetually busy intersection of Loop 289 and Quaker. I’m braking quickly for one of this town’s unsynchronized red lights. Just another aggravation on a day full of frustration in the middle of two weeks of nothing going right.
As I am about to sit and seethe, she appears. To my left in the crosswalk that isn’t really a crosswalk is a momma Mallard duck, pointed south.
What the heck? A duck? Here?
And she’s crossing.
With seven fuzzy down ducklings in a straight line behind her.
Are you kidding me?
“Don’t do it! Awww….you’re doing it! You can’t cross here! No one can see you!”
To her credit, she looks both ways. That’s better than most drivers in this town.
“God, please no. My day’s already horrible. I don’t need to see something killed in front of me.”
The guy to my right is in a red Ford F-150 pickup. He’s stopped. Oblivious, but stopped.
I look to the third lane over. Here comes Grandma. In a white Crown Victoria. Why do little old ladies drive the biggest cars? Grandma is sitting so low in the seat that she views the road through the space inside the steering wheel. Worse, she’s wearing those oversized wrap around welder goggles that Walgreen’s passes for sunglasses. She couldn’t see a duck if it was riding shotgun with her.
Momma Mallard is now in the middle of the crosswalk. The ducklings are following fearlessly behind. Because traffic lights in Lubbock are all set to “random”, she might have enough time to get her kids all the way to Quick Quack Car Wash. Or in two seconds it could become the duck death march. In the stoplight world of the Hub City, you just never know.
“Dang it, God. I don’t need to see squished duck today. A little help here, please!”
Grandma got the Crown Vic stopped. She may have been able to see Big Bird in front of that car but no way a duck. She has no idea that if she punches it on the green light a bunch of little quackers will never grow up to do something as dumb as their mother.
I can’t see them anymore. The light turns green and part of me wants to just go and not look.
But I don’t go and I do look.
No feathers on the asphalt.
They made it.
How they made it, I don’t know.
But they made it.
Now that it’s over…wow. Relief. That was really something to see. I haven’t smiled in three days but I’m smiling now.
Five minutes earlier I’d been driving down the freeway engaged in angry prayer with God. Like where is He in the middle of all my junk? Could He maybe say something? Maybe speak up and let me know He’s there? And is He hearing anything that I’ve been talking to Him about for, oh…I don’t know…the last 2 years??? Like maybe He could show up anytime now to help me out?
And just to be fair, to give Him time to think about everything I just said, I’m going to pull in to the Post Office and check my mail.
Until another clueless driver forces me out of my lane and makes me miss my turn.
“Good grief, God. I can’t even check my mail without backtracking two miles! Are You having fun? Because I’m not. I need some help here! Something. My head knows, but my heart could really use some encouragement…
…I need to know you’re going to take care of me.”
And that’s when He showed me the ducks.
“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food , and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?”
– Matthew 6:25-26
Todd A. Thompson – May 30, 2009