Ducks in a Row

Ducks in a row?

Well yes they are.

Literally.

Two of them in fact. We’ve added a pair of fluffy tailed ducklings to our backyard brood because its spring and we couldn’t help ourselves. They’re growing fast, there are plans for a pond and a bigger enclosure and they make our backyard farm yard feel complete.

Metaphorically?

It’s a different story

Ducks in a row. Not even nearly. Never have been really – even when I had all the time in the world I didn’t run a tight ship but now throw in:

  • working full time
  • a healthy dose of midlife forgetfulness
  • and a weird sort of inertia that hits me at odd times (that I can only put down to still feeling the loss of my mum)

– – – and right there I’ve got myself a whole new level of hit and miss going on.

But that never did stop a good life from happening.

Its struck me that while I seem to have little capacity to do anything more than go to work, cook dinner and keep the washing machine going that the things that bring us the most joy aren’t always the things we’ve wrestled to the ground with our super human powers and shaken the living daylights out of.

It seems to me the best of it comes on the breeze, like a gift, unbidden, as good as mercy,

The best of it comes in under the doorways and along the windowsills of our ordinary lives and surprises the heck out of us some days.

Wearing ordinary clothes and maybe a stupid grin.

Easy to miss, easy to think of as nothing.

There’s been a few lately. Arriving without trumpet or fanfare. Some practical, some simple and sweet, some enough to make you weep.

I’ll give you the front runners 

The gift of good light – – – – 

I don’t ever remember a winter so sunny or filled with so much light as this last one and my room right at the front of the house seemed to catch it all. In January I took down the lined curtains that had been up at my windows for years and replaced them with filmy white ones and never guessed at the gift I was giving myself for the winter. It’s been my cozy warm bright spot over the cold winter months especially in the morning when the coffee and the quiet and the warmth and the light are good company. That light seemed to warm me from the inside out.

The gift of clean floors – – – – –

My brother in law loves his gadgets and high tech gizmos and the most recent one he was all in a ruffle about was one of those self operating robot vacuum cleaners. He was insistent it would do nothing less then change our lives. In the end we gave in, it was easier. He ordered it online, it arrived on our doorstep a day or two later and true to his many words our floors have never looked so clean and shiny and gorgeous. Ken so impressed kept staring at them saying “I think it’s polishing them as well”. No Ken that’s just what clean floors look like.  So no more of this.

And more of this.

Grateful for persistent tech head brother in laws who don’t mind telling you what to do.

The gift of my boy surprising me – – – – 

Oh you know how you worry over them, are they doing okay, are they happy, are they dreaming big dreams? will they find their place. So much worry. So many prayers. Quiet confidence some days and then sheer panic others. But then occasionally something happens and it feels like mercy poured out. A few weeks ago I came home from work to find Ethan in the lounge room reading “The Book Thief” and if that wasn’t shock enough he had his iPad open and was writing away. He was saying words like “essay” and “narrative style” and “I talked to the teacher about it” and “it’s quite interesting”.  I thought I had a lodger.  I was so stunned I didn’t say too much less he stopped. I just helped as requested and didn’t make a big deal. But it did my heart good. Smart he is but an academic he isn’t and he’s fought being at school from the get go but every now when I’m wondering again what the answer is there’s a ray of light. A beacon of hope. He finds something that he enjoys, he shows that he’s trying, he reads a book !?! and I can feel my stomach unclench a little. He’s started doing woodworking as well – he’s made a new reptile cage and is working on a frog cage (don’t ask where they’ll go). Yes he’s made one hell of a mess in the back room and I’ve spent a lot of weekends driving him back and forward to Bunnings for supplies but it makes him happy, which makes me happy. Like me he likes to have a project to work on and that creative flow is something life giving. Maybe some of its coming with age but it’s helped me sleep better at night.

The gift of baby bunnies – – – – 

Yes that’s right – four weeks ago now much to our extreme surprise one of our two rabbits Lavender produced a litter of bunnies. Surprised not because we didn’t know rabbits have babies but because we thought we had two females. Oh my goodness the excitement and squeals of delight and tears and oohing and ahhing on discovering those babies. Yes just nature doing it’s thing maybe but oh it’s been a treat, oh they’re so sweet. A little bit of story book magic in our back garden – who’d have thought.

Theres been oodles more  – they look like everyday life but I call them grace. I call them a kindness.

I call them a cool breeze on a hot day.

It’s all about pressure. When it comes at you from all sides equally, nothing moves. But if one side exerts more than the other, you just might find yourself in flight. Vanishing Acts, Jodi Picoult

So many seasons of our lives can be awkward and messy with rough edges and loose ends and nothing where we think it should be. Beginning and endings are especially so and it seems we are always at the beginning or end of something. Middle bits can be messy too when we feel stuck or in a lull or a gap and not quite sure if we are moving anywhere but life is always moving, children are growing and changing, winter ends and summer comes, the garden grows, the duckings double in size and God has his eye on us, God is working His wonders in unseen places and we are seen and known by name just the same.

So we do what we can

and we lean into the breeze.

Maybe nothing remakes everything like grace.

Maybe – wreckage always births resurrection

Maybe   

Trust that what is coming at you.

Is God coming for you.

Trust that what looks like a wave to carry you away, is the wave that will carry you to shore.

Trust and obey the one who walks on the waves

Will make a highway

Out of everything rising in your way.

Ann Voskamp

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