What About that Duck
Joy Found inForgiveness
Last week we celebrated my mom's 86th birthday by taking her to lunch at one of her favorite places, Bay-breeze. Bay-breeze is a seafood restaurant and is located near Patton Park, one of our city parks in Hendersonville, North Carolina. Within the park there is a small pond where ducks that use the park as a habitat often swim. It also is not uncommon to see Cranes eating the small fish in the pond oblivious to those using the nice walking trail with the confines of the park.
My younger sister, Mary Donna, had joined us shortly before we had finished eating our lunch to bring Mom a birthday gift. She had not been able to join us for lunch because her dog, Farley, had to go to the vet. As we were leaving the restaurant, my sister took Farley out of her car and put him on a leash to do what dogs need to do after being confined to an automobile for a period of time. Farley immediately began pulling at his leash and trying to get into a clump of Pine trees inside the parking lot median that separates the two parking areas of the restaurant. We soon discovered the reason for Farley's excitement, a duck from Patton Park had found the area to be a suitable place for her to lay her eggs and she was happily nesting on her trove of eggs. Even with Farley discovering her nest, she didn't flinch or move and paid none of us any attention. As I looked at the duck I was reminded of a story I heard some years ago that has a tremendous meaning and life lesson concerning forgiveness, something we as humans all seem to need, some more than others.
Two children, a boy named Tommy and his sister, Susie, were visiting their grandparents who lived on a small farm. Tommy was all boy and enjoyed being in the country. He could run and play and enjoyed helping his grandfather with the animals sometimes gathering eggs and playing fetch with the dog. He helped his grandparents with chores on the outside while Susie, all girl and like many little girls prone to be just a little bossy, helped her grandmother do the dishes, sweep the floors and clean house oftentimes while Tommy had already gone outside to play, something she envied.
One day Tommy was outside and outback of the barn where a a few chickens and an old duck were busy eating bugs and scratching in pasture muffins. Like most boys will often do, he picked up a rock and threw it at the chickens and the lone duck. To Tommy's surprise, the stone he threw hit the duck in the head killing it. Just at that time, Susie, who had just come outside to play, saw Tommy throw the stone and the duck lying dead on the ground. "Tommy!!! I'm gonna tell on you!!" Fearful of what the consequences might be Tommy said,"Oh, please don't tell Grandma I killed her duck!" Susie said, "Tommy, I want tell Grandma you killed her duck if you will do the dishes and some of my chores the rest of the summer!!"
Reluctantly, Tommy agreed to do the dishes and any other chore Susie told him to do that was her responsibility. As the week progressed, Tommy did as he had said honoring his commitment although he hated doing the girl chores and had rather be outside but when he complained and threatened not to do the dishes, Susie would remind him,"What about that duck!" Tommy was miserable and his guilt seemed overwhelming.
When Tommy could no longer stand the guilt of his crime and the punishment inflicted by his sister, he went to his Grandma and confessed he had thrown a stone and killed her duck. He hadn't meant to kill the duck but then Susie had seen him throw the stone. Her blackmail was the reason he had been doing the dishes and all the other things Susie told him to do. "Grandma, would you please forgive me for throwing that rock and killing the duck, I'm really sorry."
The Grandmother smiled at Tommy and gave him a big hug. "Son, I already knew you had thrown the stone and that you didn't mean to kill it. I forgave you when it happened and have only been a\waiting for you to tell me with your own words. So, now don't you worry anymore about that duck, you're forgiven!" A sigh of relief and a deep peace came over Tommy as he hug his Grandmother, "I love you Grandma, Thank you for forgiving me."
That night after supper, Tommy grabbed his cap and ready to head out the door to play. Susie said, "Tommy, where do you think you're going, you got dishes to wash!" I'm going outside to play!" Susie smirked,"What about that duck!" Tommy looked at her and replied,"What about that duck?"
We have all been guilty of things where we need the forgiveness of others and there is nothing that brings peace as the the words, "You are forgiven!" Forgiveness gives us a clean sheet and the effect of washing our soul.
Isaiah 55:6-7 “Seek the LORD while he may be found; call upon him while he is near; let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; let him return to the LORD, that he may have compassion on him, and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.