Four Ducks on a Pond
Geoffrey F. Spencer
Reprinted from Strangers and Pilgrims: Images of the Church for Today, Herald House, 1984, by Geoffrey F. Spencer (edited)
I trust in the steadfast love of God
forever and ever.
I will thank you forever,
because of what you have done.
In the presence of the faithful
I will proclaim your name, for it is good. -Psalm 52:8b-9
Whoever said that “one picture is worth a thousand words” was only partly right. Words, and the images created by them, have their own unique power and effectiveness. They communicate their messages to us, but more than that they can penetrate the outer shell of our beings and enter into conversation, as it were, with our deepest feelings, yearnings, and hopes.
I do not know how to explain this adequately, except to illustrate with one such image out of my own experience. Over the years I have repeatedly found myself returning to this simply worded picture, entering into dialogue with it, and listening to what it has to say to me in the particular circumstances of the occasion.
Four ducks on a pond,
A grass-bank beyond,
A blue sky of spring,
White clouds on the wing;
What a little thing
To remember for years-
To remember with tears! -William Allingham
I do not expect this image to mean as much to anybody else as it does to me. Many images are intensely private experiences. These few words evoke for me the assurance of peace, serenity, order, a sense of underlying purpose in existence, and a conviction of the rightness of things. When my own life needs to refurbish those hopes, the image “hears” my needs, accepts them, folds them in its nurturing embrace, and then returns them to me renewed and enlarged.
Wherever I am, God is here.
Breathe deeply and prayerfully consider the story you have just read. What is the Spirit’s invitation to you in these words? What does it look like to wake up to God’s presence in this moment?
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