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  • Elisa Brazell

WHEN OTHER PEOPLE'S PROBLEMS BECOME OURS

Have you ever found yourself in a situation that you didn't choose for yourself?


Of course you have! We all have. Like the time you got rear ended, or when your roommate left nasty dirty dishes in the sink and it stunk up your apartment. Or the more heart- wrenching examples of a cheating spouse or a teenage pregnancy can definitely throw you a curve ball. This life is full of experiences that we have to go through because of others' choices and the following consequences, right? Sometimes that can be frustrating or annoying. Sometimes it can even be infuriating or crushing if we let it be.





I've been thinking about one of those types of experiences in my life right now. Some of you readers may remember the story of a lovely Easter day when I decided to succumb to my 14 year old daughter's pleadings to get a duck. Read it here if you're in the dark.


It was the surprise... that left me surprised... to have a load of work placed on my shoulders.


After the initial excitement of having ducklings wore off, we moved into a phase of excitement for the possibility that we might get to add bigger duck eggs to our yard-provided wares, but both ducks ended up being males.


They’re going through a teen phase where they chase any kid with their mouths open ready to bite. I mean, its an easy fix, you just grab them and throw them in the air, but if they get a bill on you, they really hold on tight so it's quite the pinch. Once they are in your arms though, they won't bite.



Then there's the weekly chore of scrubbing and refilling their “pond”. Somehow, probably due to a mixture of bad parenting and fear of a mud bath, this chore has been removed from the duck owner's plate and added to mine. It takes about 25 minutes a week. In addition, the duck owner has bigger and better things to do than play with the ducks she begged for for days. She has effectually ditched the ducks and lays no claim on them. So the care has fallen to me. And sometimes I wonder whether having ducks is worth it.

"Why don't you teach her a lesson and give them away?" Some might ask.


Well, to be honest, with all the time and effort I have put into caring for them- the sacrifices I have made for them, the service I have given them, have caused me to love them. The ducks have my heart now.


So is it worth it?


Well at this point, after seeing the sheer joy clear water brings to the ducks as they bathe happily in their newly cleaned pond;



after having them run to me quacking when I come out the back door because I might have one of their favorite treats- watermelon, cucumber or lettuce; after having two little waddling companions, as I walk around my yard, who just trail at my heels, sometimes nipping at my toes if I’m wearing flip flops 😬, and after having little duckie cuddles with their soft neck all wrapped around mine I think I’ve decided,

the ducks are worth it,

even though I didn't choose to have them (well I did in a way- as I love to surprise my daughter with things she wants. Just won't be doing this again with an animal!)



Think about situations you have been placed in that were brought on by someone or something other than your choices. How has that turned out? I can think of some...ok many, in which I basically threw a little tantrum feeling so angry that I had to be put out because of a choice someone else made. In this example, though, I am really starting to see the power of just adopting the "problem" and giving it some attention and sacrifice and therefore love rather than getting even or teaching a lesson.


Every situation is different, but I'd like to choose an outcome of peace and love over frustration and anger whenever I'm presented with one of these situations again.

While we're talking about whether certain animals are worth it, because I bought a chicken coop as a shelter for the ducks, I made MY OWN choice to incubate and raise chicks. I did it for the kids' learning and benefit, and future eggs, but again, most of the responsibility has fallen to me- I just do the chicken chores after the kids go to school.


I mean, I’m basically their mom. The kids and I welcomed them to the world as they hatched out of their shells and we’ve been holding them and petting them pretty frequently to keep them nice. I sometimes will go sit in the fenced off coop in my little wicker kids chair that my behind just barely fits in- in fact its convenient. When I need to move to a different spot in the coop to reach a chicken for example, the snug chair just comes with me like the shell of a turtle 🐢 😆 So despite the time that has been tacked on to my daily schedule to keep them fed and watered, I think the chickens are worth it too. Even beyond the biggest benefit- egg laying in the coming months, these birds, ducks and chicks have just been good for my soul.


I hope you'll consider this story next time you are presented with someone else's problem and if the timing and your ability to do so feels right, take it, give it (and maybe the person who presented it) some attention and sacrifice and see where that takes you. 😀

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