I live in a rural Norfolk village. Not one of the pretty ones, sadly; more the sort that people recognise from passing through to somewhere more interesting. We live there with that same mind-set, to be honest. But a significant feature of its centre is a large duck pond, populated by an ever-growing colony (I’m sure that is the correct term) of ducks of various hybrids. This is Norfolk, after all.
|Why did the ducks cross the road?|
It was a friend of mine, a rather ditzy young woman in her twenties, who had to settle the matter with her mother. Not of whether duck quacks echo, but of whether ducks can fly. She was adamant they couldn’t. She had never seen one fly, therefore, ducks do not fly. Her mother, in between trying to catch her breath from laughing, finally managed to win the argument on the grounds that they possess wings; but the daughter remained unconvinced. The experience of watching them in our garden, or waiting in a queue of cars while they process across the road through our village, might confirm her view.
As a child, I had to learn the end of Isaiah 40 by heart: They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength. They shall soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not faint. I’ve always thought of myself as a plodder through life: not prone to exaggerated highs and lows; just putting one step in front of the other and getting through. But these last couple of years have challenged that approach to life. Sure, over time I have become steadfast, loyal, dependable, not prone to burn-out; but there has also been the danger that I might “settle.”
It's like God has been doing the equivalent of that debate between my friend and her mother:
Jane, can you fly?
Are you sure?
Pretty much never tried it, but still no.
But I made you with wings.
As writers, especially those of us “wannabe writers”, it can seem like we’ll never achieve take-off. We watch the high-flyers and, like the caterpillar pointing to the butterfly, declare, “You’ll never get me up in one of those.” But, we have been given wings and have the promise that we can soar. Perhaps there's a thermal up there somewhere I could catch…