Monday, December 23, 2013

One Bad Duck

Sometimes a pond is not big enough to handle the diversity of ducks.

So goes the story of the old duck pond behind A&E Johnson's property in Backwoods, LA.

It started a few years back when 3 ducklings grew up together under the old oak tree's branches that shaded the southern portion of the pond on hot July afternoons. This shade was a place where everyone gathered. It was also where the three duckling friends Duck Bill, Duck Phil, and Duck Jill became the center of the attention.

All three made beautiful calls. All three were humorous. All three loved to party. Ducks would fly in from two counties away just to join the adventurous trio and their flap-happy ways. Sure, Bill, Phil, and Jill were a bit noisy at times. Sure, they bit, bellowed, and splashed their less than ducky compatriots. But somehow everyone wanted to join this inner circle. This ring of feathered fellowship seemed to be the place to be.

Phil was the best (and the worst) of the trio. A spirited and able-flyer he was. He had the praise of many and the envy of others. But all this went to his head. He was a proud duck. A big, bad bird he became. He was insolent, demanding, and selfish in every way. He took advantage of the females, and enjoyed embarrassing the drakes who strutted to his side of the pond.

One day, however, Phil came to his senses. It was like he was re-hatched. He saw that his pride, cruelty, and selfishness were the very things bringing sadness and brokenness to the bunch. He began to tell others about a deeper joy...the way to be a true duck. A true duck couldn't do what they wanted, when they wanted, with whoever they wanted. The ultimate Duck Commander (Creator of all ponds) had spoken the world to be and he wanted it to be a particular way for everyone. Anyone could come to know this Father of the Feathered if they'd quit creating their own rules and submit to His.

At first, the flock loved the duckling-like humility and newness of Phil. He was kinder, unselfish, and walked with a new freedom. Some of the "old Phil" came out here and there. He was no perfect duck, just a new duck. Bill and Jill, on the contrary, missed the old Phil for a full five minutes, but in time began to laugh at Phil's new way of waddling. They mocked him for willingly leaving the inner circle and their feathered fellowship. They thought his new ideas for goodness and integrity were backward and old fashioned. His new-found freedom was a threat to their way of flocking, flying, and frolicking. Phil's quack wasn't quite right.

The only sensible thing would be to chase him out of the pond. Bill and Jill began to quack out to their friends: "Phil needs to go somewhere else with his new-feathered ways. He has no right to speak against the inner circle. He doesn't understand what's right now. I don't care if he used to waddle and quack like us. Now, he's different, and he's the kind of different we cannot tolerate. Fly off Duck Phil and take your ideas with you."

The problem Duck Phil faced was he knew that to stay would offer hope and healing to other proud ducks. To leave would be to abandon this pond and his duck friends to murkier waters of further decay. Phil knew he couldn't leave, but would have to stay amid the jeers, sneers, and tears.

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