While driving to a doctor’s appointment the other day, I saw a group of cars and pedestrians stopped along a residential street. I looked to see where people were pointing, hanging out of car windows and standing along the sidewalk. Eventually, I found the reason for the traffic jam: a mother duck and her four ducklings in tow.
Busy people stopped to smile and coo at the little family as they leisurely crossed the street. A woman walking her dog pulled her pup back, wrapping the leash tightly around her hand to protect the ducks from a sudden attack. For a moment, we were all self-appointed caretakers for this fragile group.
I thought a lot about those ducks the rest of my day. I wondered where they came from and where they were going. Was there a pond nearby? Were they pets? I also considered the reaction of the other people on the street. Why did this poultry parade elicit such a response?
I think I know why. There’s something inside us—the part of our souls where love and generosity and thoughtfulness exists—that makes us want to shelter the vulnerable. When we give in to our better self, we feel compelled to defend the defenseless and love the broken.
Of course, we’re also created with the capacity to cause destruction and harm. And, unfortunately, that’s the impulse that gets the most press. We read more of murdering the innocent than protecting them. We’re told of more cruelty than kindness. And though it’s right to shine a light on abuse and injustice, I’m here to say there is still goodness (Thank goodness!).
There are teachers who live to impart knowledge and show compassion to our kids. There are military personnel, police officers, and firefighters who voluntarily put themselves in dangerous situations so that we can sleep at night. There are social workers and healthcare professionals who give their time to disadvantaged members of our community who would otherwise go unnoticed.
All of these servants in our community minister to the most vulnerable, the voiceless and oppressed. In other words, they see the parade of ducklings and they stop. Maybe we all have this capacity to nurture. We may just be out of practice.