The story of Duck (A.K.A. Charlie, Toko, Gerald, Humphrey Rutherford, Rubba, Donald O’Connor, Downy, Percival, Darkwing, Fluffy)

“Um, hey mom?”  I asked, hoping I didn’t sound too suspicious.

“Yeeaaah?”  I could tell from the tone in her voice that I wasn’t doing that great of a job.

“So, um, how do you feel about ducks?”


To tell you the truth, my mom had every right to be apprehensive.  She knows me.

“Well, I mean, I kind of have a duck right now, and I’m bringing it home with me.”  I continued to tell my story very rapidly, so she wouldn’t have any opportunity to stop me (but I will take a little more time now, for the sake of understandability).

I had been working on the Ryde On staff at a Bible camp that week.  Ryde On is an action sports apparel company ( that was in charge of the water sports.  I got to work on the lake all week, tubing kids from 10 in the morning to 5 at night, and selling shirts at all other times.  Got sun poisoning, stepped on what looked to be a hatpin (that went 1/4 inch into my foot), rubbed all the skin off my elbows, lived in a wet bathing suit, helped on the boat, helped in the water, helped on the boat again (let me tell you, my hair looked fabulous), and was able to minister to several campers.  It was awesome.

On the last day, our staff was down at the lake, cleaning and packing up.  Deflating tubes, tearing down the bench and the life jacket rack, getting random odds and ends of first-aid and sunscreen put up, things like that.  All the campers had already left, and a new group of kids had come in to use the facility, but we weren’t a part of that camp.

I was drying off (for what I hoped to be the last time), looked up, and saw some of the camp staff coming down to the water.  I went over to them to ask what they wanted, and in one girl’s hands was a tiny duckling.  (My brain went “Aaaaawwwww!”  So did my mouth.)  As it turns out, some of the kids had found him wandering around in the parking lot and brought him to the staff.  They thought “Hey, he’s a duck.  Let’s go put him in the lake.”  He was still downy and very new, not more than a day or two old (he still had his egg tooth), and if they’d put him in the water he would have drowned.  If they just left him by the edge something would have eaten him.

They were all leaving and didn’t know what to do with him.  So I, being me, said I’d take him.  I was not too upset about it, because I love cute and cuddly, and I was prepping to go into veterinary medicine before God called me into ministry (a story for another day).  I got him a box, filled it with paper towels, and held on to him for the rest of the day.

That night when we went to eat, I knew I couldn’t leave him in our dorm.  If he stayed in the air conditioning he’d get too cold, and I didn’t have a heat lamp or hot water bottle with me (I know, right!  I should start carrying one in my purse…), so I took him with us.  I emptied my sister’s makeup bag, filled it with paper towels, and kept my hand in there to keep him warm.  Yes, I took a duck to Applebee’s.  Bragging rights, okay!  The other staff kept quacking at me throughout the meal…it’s a wonder the waitress didn’t abandon us for more normal customers!

As it turns out, I had a little wood duck.  Apparently it’s a FEDERAL OFFENCE to keep them as pets, but Mom still let me bring the little guy home, and keep him until I found a wildlife rehabilitator in our area.  Because she’s awesome like that.  The duck (who had so many name suggestions at this point that I just called him “Duck”) went to a rehab farm not too long after I got home, and I’m convinced that he will live out his days with other wood ducks, happy and free.

Right when I’d first gotten Duck and was still packing up at camp, the leader of our Ryde On crew asked me a question.  He said “If that duck was sitting under that bush there, and  you didn’t even know he existed, would you trust God to take care of him?”  I replied that of course I would.  He then asked me why I didn’t stick the duck under the bush right then, and trust God to protect it.  I told him that maybe God had taken care of the duck by bringing him to me.  After all, those staff could have gone anywhere on the lake to drown the poor helpless thing, but they came right to where I was.

Still, it made me think.  What had I changed by saving that duck’s life?  Had I ended world hunger?  Was there peace in the Middle East?  No and no, unfortunately.  All I had done was help a duckling live a little longer.  What’s the significance in that?

Just the week before all this happened, I’d been at Fuge (where awesome things happen), and the speaker was talking about the Butterfly Effect.  If you don’t know what that is, (in rough terms) it’s a mathematical theory that states when a butterfly flaps its wings in one part of the world, it could cause a tornado on a totally different continent.  Basically – EVERYTHING WE DO HAS A HUGE IMPACT ON THE WORLD.  Nothing is insignificant.

Wait a second.  Nothing is insignificant?  What about the children dying of hunger all over the world?  What can they possibly be doing to effect us here?  Could one baby that has only lived a few hours change the course of the world?

How about you?  How important are you on the scale of things?  Are you popular?  Does anyone even notice you?  Maybe you are famous, and people listen when you have something to say.  Or maybe no one hears you at all.  Do you matter?

And what about me?  I post on this blog fairly regularly, pouring out my heart and soul.  Every time I hit the “publish” button I’m hoping and praying that someone, somewhere, will be impacted by what I’ve written.  I have a total of five readers (among those are my mom’s parents, my sister, and my mom), but if I’ve touched something in the heart of even one person, haven’t I made a difference?

We go through life trying desperately to be noticed, to somehow impact the people around us.  Often times we feel that our efforts go unnoticed entirely.  Yet, if you smile at someone passing you on the sidewalk and make their day, haven’t you already made a change?  Doesn’t that make you just as important as the top movie stars?  Even if we go through life doing nothing, are we ever truly unknown?

“Are not two sparrows sold for a penny?  Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from the will of your Father.  And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered.  So don’t be afraid; you are worth much more than many sparrows. (Matthew 10:29-31)



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