Weather Catastrophes. War. Orphan, immigration and refugee crisis’. Personal Crisis’. Health Crisis’. Relational Crisis’. Financial Crisis’. Identity Crisis. Persecution. Human Trafficking. Slavery.
That’s what I noticed in just a 10 minute news update after returning home from vacation.
Talk about a rough re-entry. I felt my vacation glow burn off like Space Shuttle Heat Tiles. (Google it, young’uns.) It’s amazing how fast you can shift from glowy and relaxed to stressed and unrest. Seeing the hot mess that is our world, takes no effort. It takes effort not to notice it. (I like denial.. sometimes I really work hard to avoid hard things. Especially hard things that I have little or, no control over. Justsayin. I know of what I speak.)
While on vacation, the same stuff was happening. My focus was just different. I noticed this tiny, beautiful silly duckling. I fed him broken pretzels. (Or, her.. I don’t actually have a clue about ducky bits.) Shhh… that’s against resort rules. Don’t tell. He was hungry. And cute.
It took me two days to realize why he was the only little duck on the beach. At first I thought: “Late bloomer? A little slow? A happy ducky late in life-fertility surprise?”
Nope. Lone survivor. The usual half dozen or more siblings we see each year-didn’t make it.
I am overly involved with these ducks. As in: Rabid as a Downton Abbey Fan overly involved. For years I’ve watched the ducks multiply on the beach… waddling mommas keeping their young in line and teaching them the ways of ducky-life. I count them. I might name them. I already admitted to breaking rules to feed them. Possibly even laws. I don’t even mind the duck- piles they leave in their cute little wakes.
When I realized this was the only survivor this year, I almost cried. All that loss. It was too much. (I’m also on a new hormone treatment. Related? I’m sure. ) I worried if it was bad pretzels served up by well-meaning travelers. Maybe it was the terrible storm that had swept through the area? Or could it have been an evil pike and death from the deep? (Have you seen a pike? Truly, a terrifying fish.) Every time I saw this little guy… I felt sad.
Until, I noticed something.
He was alive. Duh. He survived. He was surrounded with ducky aunties and uncles and a momma duck who shook her tail feathers at anyone who even thought about messing with him. He survived. And it is good. I moved past sadness to gladness. I threw pretzel bits in celebration.
Sometimes- noticing goodness is like that. We notice the survivor- not just the disease. We notice what’s left after the storm. We notice the goodness in the hot mess of the world. The Parishes, countries and people taking in refugees. The Adoptive parents fighting for the children they already love. The change found at the bottom of a bag that’s just enough to buy milk.
How can you notice goodness today?
I’m noticing a dorky little duck with a lot of pluck.
Dear Lord- help me notice goodness… in creation, in beauty, in small and big things done with love…. in new babies and old friends and new friends At the cancer center and the carpool. In the middle of the world’s hot mess- let me see goodness. In Jesus name- amen.