This is Downton. She is very confused. She has never really had a firm foundation or identity. This is partly our fault. For one, she was purchased on a whim with 11 chickens. She was the only duck left in the duck pen and I could not stand to leave her all alone. So she started off thinking she was a chicken. The second thing we did was assume she was a male duck because of her size and stature. To our surprise our male duck started laying eggs….so not so much a male.
In an attempt to help her out of the confusion we got her a friend. We thought the two of them would fully know they we ducks and do what they were made to do. Well they sort of did. They would go down to our big pond together and splash around but never actually swim. They were more comfortable swimming in the water trough at the barn. One day Downton’s friend, while splashing at the shore of the pond got mortally attacked by an alligator snapping turtle. With her friends death Downton was thrown into confusion again.
She next decided that she would be a dog. She tried over and over to get in the back yard with the dogs. She tired to play with the dogs. She even laid down in front of the dogs and let them put their mouths around her neck so she could show them that she could wrestle just like them. She was quite confused as to why I was screaming at the dogs. She has no idea how close she was to death.
Once the fun of the dogs wore off she decided that she would just hang out with me. Every time I came out of the house she would come quacking up to me and want me to pet her. Yes, literally pet her. But listen, I am a busy person and I could not give her the quality time she needed. She tired of me and turned to the chickens. I would like to say also that during all of this she never went down to the beautiful pond. Granted that damn dinosaur is still in there, but I felt bad because she loved the water so much, but she was too lonely to go hang out down there alone.
When she joined the chicken gang she started wondering all over the property with the chickens. See, our chickens are more free than free range chickens. They are no range chickens because they go where they want when they want. If they want to hang out in my garage, thats where they go. If they want to go hang out in the front yard and tear up all my plants thats what they do. When I say they are a gang I mean that in the most literal way possible. They leave destruction in their wake. Downton waddled right along with them, quacking all the way.
Then something happened. Something in the pond habitat must have changed. We have never had wild ducks in our pond and we assumed it was because of that dumb dinosaur. I am not sure if they heard Downton’s quaking as she roamed with the gang. I am not sure if that dumb dinosaur finally died and somehow the wild ducks knew it was safe. But for whatever reason, one day, some wild ducks showed up. And this is where the miraculous happened.
Through some sort of unheard negotiations they convinced Downton that she was one of them. They swam out in the water and beckoned her to follow them. They are mallards and she is a plus sized Pekin but they convinced her that in her core she was a duck. She believed them and one day I walked out and she was swimming in the pond, just like a real duck. She knew that she was a duck, created on purpose to do duck things. She was playing, quacking, dunking her head underwater and splashing.
They commune together all day. They come right after sunrise and they stay until about 5 pm. She gets up in the morning, I open her pen and she waddles down to the pond to see her friends. And then all day long she does what she was created to do, she is a duck. She uses her webbed feet to paddle herself across the pond. She uses her bill to rummage for bugs and foliage. She use her long neck to reach deep under water. They stay in a group to protect each other from the possibility of that dinosaur. And she could use her wings to fly away to safety at night if she would lay off the chicken scratch. Instead when they leave for the night she waddles back up to the barn to her duck hut of safety.
I can totally identify with Downton. Trying to find my identity while ignoring all the things that point to what my identity really is. “Finding myself” only to look up and realize I was more lost and lonely than before. Walking around with a gang of chickens wondering why I don’t really fit in. And then one day finding myself surrounded by people who were pointing me to the One who really knew who I was and who I was supposed to be. And then ultimately meeting the God who made me, on purpose, and gave me gifts to use as I learned about who He is. He gave Downton those webbed feet to paddle across the pond. He gave me a mind and heart that wanted to be home with Him. And in the way Downton could glory in the water and swim and play, I can glory in God and know Him and live out the abundant life He has for me.
And in those same unheard negotiations that Downton and the wild ducks had, God had to convince my heart of all this. He had to lift the vail of doubt that had me convinced I could find the answer on my own. He had to prove to me that He loved me and wanted me. He had to walk out into the water and say, “Trust me, you are mine, follow me.” Praise Him for coming after me. Otherwise I would still be walking around like a chicken.