Our house backs up to a small pond in our subdivision. Because of this, we have all sorts of fowl around our home. Some of the most interesting visitors are Muscovy Ducks. These are large, decorative ducks that become very tame when living near homes.
For the last few weeks, we had a female Muscovy sitting on a nest that she constructed near a front window of our house. We enjoyed watching her sit on her eggs. She was so protective of her eggs that she didn't move as I mowed the front yard, coming within two feet of her at one point. I wouldn't say we became emotionally attached to the duck, but we did enjoy her presence.
I'm sad to report that I now know at an experiential level what the term "sitting duck" means. Last Monday at about 6 A.M. I wandered outside to go for a run. I came upon a dead duck in our front yard. It was the female Muscovy. Something rather large must have killed her during the night because her body was moved about 6-7 feet from the nest. There was no doubt - she was dead. Her neck was broken, and her body was not moving at all. I don't know what killed her or why. The eggs remained in the nest.
I decided to leave the body there and go for my run. When I returned I saw something sad. A male duck (her mate?) was standing next to her body looking confused. It did not know what to do. After a bit, it wandered away.
What to do with a dead duck body? We (to be accurate, my poor wife, because I was at work when we found out that we had to dispose of the body) put it in a bag and threw it in our trash. This was Monday. The trash truck comes on Thursday. Every day last week reached near 100 degrees. Yuck.
The stench of death reigned for a few days anywhere within 5-10 feet of our trash can. It was nasty. We tried to avoid it, but still fell prey occasionally to the wretched stench. On Wednesday, when I took the trash can to the curbside, I held my breath the entire time. Alas, the overpowering odor still managed to get inside my nostrils. Therefore, when I finally took a breath...well, it was not peaches and cream.
Why describe this unpleasant situation in detail? The reason is that the death of this duck reminded me that we live in a fallen world. Only in a fallen world is there death. Death is a consequence of sin. Consequently, only in a fallen world is there the stench of death. Only in a fallen world does a mother duck get killed for protecting her eggs. Only in a fallen world does a duck have to stand over its dead mate.
This was a stark reminder to me of the fragile nature of life on this earth. Life can end very quickly. Not only in the animal world, but also among humans life can be extinguished in the blink of an eye.
Our dead duck reminded me that my life is a vapor. What am I doing to advance the kingdom of God today? I may not have tomorrow.
Our dead duck also reminded me that we have something much better to look forward to. As followers of Christ, we have eternity with Christ, free from the stench and reality of death. That is a great hope.
We are not sitting ducks, but we also can't count on 30, 40, 50, 60 or more years on earth. Let's live today for Christ, knowing that death is a reality in this fallen world.