Disappointment, Ducks, and Daily Miracles



Earlier in the week my daughter was diagnosed with a virus but was starting to feel better.  I did not feel right about sending her to Preschool for fear of possibly infecting other children, but she was feeling better so was sad when I told her she was not joining her brother at school.  To make her feel better I told her we would go on an ADVENTURE!!

I suppose the  Mandy Arioto video from my last MOPS meeting was still resonating because as I remembered how she told of her parents sending her and her siblings out of the house to find an 'adventure', it made me excited to teach my little girl that adventures were fun!

We start our adventure at Starbucks.  Mommy gets her Pumpkin Spice Latte and my Aria gets an apple juice and cake pop.  She is so excited to have something that isn't oatmeal!  Because seriously, how sinfully great is it when you get to have cake for breakfast.  Amen to that.

Next we venture to the cemetery where I tell her we are going give flowers to Ethan and feed the ducks and turtles!  This was a point of anxiety for me because when I chose the final resting place of my little boy, what won me over was this amazing man made pond with a gorgeous fountain, gazebo, and in the background there were 3 huge crosses.  I remember thinking it was amazing.  A place to remember my son is with Jesus and a place where my children would remember their visits to the cemetery as a fun time in which we celebrated Ethan's life, taught them about Christ, and of course fed the ducks!  However, in the last year I had visited his grave alone I had seen zero signs of ducks.

As we make our way to the cemetery, for the first time ever I'm not thinking about Ethan.  I'm praying that God would put some ducks in this flipping pond!  You see, as soon as I told Aria that she would be feeding the ducks, she was so excited she asked me to get the bread.  And she did not let go of this bread.  She almost cried when I told her she could not bring the bread into Starbucks.  I don't think I've ever seen her so excited, which made my anxiety and guilt grow.  "What if there are no ducks.  I've never seen ducks there. What have I done!"

So as I drive along I keep praying, "Please Lord give us this.  Give Aria and I this moment, she is so excited.  Give me a reason to smile in this place that makes me weep with excruciating pain.  Just give me this."

We arrive and she helps me put the flowers in Ethan's vase.  She was such a good helper.  I could feel him smile as the sunlight hit my back through the tree is gravestone is underneath.  At that moment the pond sparkles under the sunlight and Aria stands up and says, "Momma!  Let's go feed the ducks!"  She starts off running with the bag of old bread in hand and I follow her. 

We reach the pond...no ducks.  So I am hopeful that maybe there are turtles as I had seen them on prior visits.  So she starts throwing bread crumbs in the water.  Minnows. Lots of minnows start eating at the bread.  My heart sank.  There are no ducks.  There are no turtles.  I try to get Aria excited as I exclaim, "Look at the fish, we are feeding the fish!" She looks at me and says, "Momma, where are the ducks?"  Her disappointment cuts me right to the bone.  Suddenly I think this place, this cemetery that is filled with beautiful flowers is just a place to decorate disappointment.  We place flowers on the graves of those we have lost but we are heart-broken that they are no longer here.  They are no longer able to smell those roses, prick their fingers on the thorns, place those petals under their pillow to dream of the one they are to marry. 

My mind instantly went to a recent conversation with my husband.  We were leaving church and he commented that people in this day have a hard time grasping the Bible because Jesus was alive performing miracles and we don't see Him performing those miracles today.  Basically, he was acknowledging that faith (believing what you cannot see) is hard to grasp without a glimpse of some metaphysical event that results in an awe inspiring great event, in short, a miracle.  I agreed that it so many people do not understand the concept of faith.  But spoke about how miracles do happen every day.  Children are pulled from wells, girls found after 10 years of abduction, cancer patients being told inexplicably there are no more signs of the disease, and people dying and coming back to life with inspirational stories of the light, Jesus, and Heaven.  Miracles happen every day but people are reluctant to claim it as a miracle.  They attribute these divine interventions to coincidence or chance. 

So as Aria and I stand there by the pond, my heart was heavy that this one prayer, this one mini-miracle in which I asked to occur was just not going to happen.  And truthfully I was little irritated. Maybe this was just a sad way to teach my daughter that disappointments are just a fact of life.  Scrounging to save this moment I see some ripples in the distance and tell Aria we should head down to the fountain and maybe we will find some turtles to feed. She excitedly starts running toward the fountain. I follow her.  I can't help but to smile because she is still so full of hope, so happy to continue on this adventure.

Just as I start trying to conjure up what other excuse of lack of any animal to feed, I look over and there is blinding glare on the pond.  I look again, and I can't believe my eyes.  Swimming toward us are two beautiful ducks.  I whisper-scream to Aria, "Aria!!  Look at the ducks!"  She immediately starts throwing bread into the pond and saying, "Come here, come here ducks!"

And there it was, an answered prayer, my miracle.  I certainly didn't deserve it with my immediate anger and lack of faith after initially seeing no ducks.  But that is the beautiful thing about grace and miracles, we never deserve them.  But lucky us, He gives them to us daily.  And with that we can have hope, and continue on this great adventure.

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