I love when nature illustrates life lessons so simply.
This morning on our regular dog walk, we came around a bend and saw a mama duck ushering her 3 ducklings over the pedestrian bridge, from one side of the creek to the other. Between my sister and I, we had four dogs on leashes. Potential deadly disaster.
We stopped, held leashes tightly, and watched as they made it to the other side of the bridge, all the while mama keeping a close eye on us and on her babies. Once across the bridge, the family had only one option: jump off the very high rocky ledge and into the creek. The concrete wall had penned them in a corner with nowhere else to go.
Mama jumped first and then began squawking to her babies to join her. They hopped around and screeched a bit, clearly distressed by the situation. Dad began flying overhead, back and forth from one side of the bridge to the other, also offering encouraging but urgent quacks. The ducklings were in panic mode, too scared to jump, too scared to stay where they were, unsure of whom to trust, and completely unaware of what the consequences of non-action could be.
Most days, I’m a duckling. The encouraging and wise voices of people who love me and want the best for me are telling me “jump! It’s the only way!” and I run around in circles chirping my fears and believing I’m safer where I am.
But the world shows me again and again I rarely regret the things I try, but will usually regret what I don’t even attempt. When I jump, I learn. I get better at being me and I get better at being a sister, friend, daughter, wife, aunt, leader, business owner.
And while the alternative for me doesn’t look like ending up as breakfast for a hungry mutt, it does look like wondering what could have been if I’d lived my life from a place of courage fueled by trust instead of fear fueled by doubt (which seems like a horrible place to end up).
In the end Allison and I decided to take a different route and let the babies overcome their fears on their own timetable. Maybe today wasn’t their day to learn to jump. I just hope that day comes sooner rather than later. For them and for all of us.