~ Andrew Gale
Have you ever asked for something and received more than you expected? I have often had the experience in my life to have asked for something and not received it, though I won’t answer whether my petition was fair in the first place. Sometimes I have asked for things, prayed even(!), and they have come in incredible and unexpected ways, making the receiving better than I could have ever asked. On the rare occasion, things I hope for come exactly as I hoped, even if I later realize it was not exactly what I wanted. Regardless of these other possible situations, that I am sure could elicit a wonderful blog in themselves, I am interested today in exploring how things I have asked for have come to me in overabundance.
I had a mildly frightening experience recently, mainly not because of immediate danger but because of my lack of control. My two year-old daughter, Eleanor, and I went to do something we often enjoy doing together—feeding the ducks. There happens to be a wonderful pond just a few blocks from a coffee shop in Lexington. We make our way to get coffee (me not Eleanor) and then take our bag of bread to the pond to feed the ducks (again me not Eleanor). Eleanor’s lack of feeding ducks is not because she does not want to, but because she gets too interested in the ducks, especially the recent addition of ducklings, and often sits down and watches them while I ration bread. To understand the story well you must know that these ducks get fed often; they can spot people coming with bags of bread from blocks away. They get up close, talking to you, reminding you to feed them. It has always been a fun time.
This last experience was a little more than I could handle, though. I had not factored in the growth of duck families that happens in the springtime. Last time we had visited we saw a few ducklings, but by this visit they had evolved to medium-sized ducks (not sure if there is another term for something that is not fully a duck and also not a duckling!). There were also more ducklings added to the duck gang. Certainly the cute ducklings and medium-sized ducks are often fed by people, but the jealous parent ducks get left out–at least that was my feeling as I stood there watching these ducks begin to congregate around my daughter and me. Within minutes there were 42 ducks (yes, I counted) surrounding us. They formed a perimeter, squawking, stating their demands. Eleanor, of course, loved this and sat down in the grass letting them come within inches of her. My task suddenly became two-fold: feed the hungry ducks so they will not bite us and keep Eleanor from being taken away by these virulent creatures. I am happy to say that I succeeded in both. The ducks were fed, though I am sure not to their fulfillment, and my daughter and I made it out safely. I had hoped there would be ducks. Just not 42.
Like I said, there are times in my life I have asked for things and been overwhelmed by the response. Sometimes the overwhelming is good and sometimes it is not. And sometimes it is both. I prayed for a daughter that lived life with joy and laughter. I am thankful to God to have experienced that joy in abundance over her first two years. At moments the joy and laughter is too much, like when she will not stop belting a new song at the top of her lungs from her bed as her mom and dad lay sleepless in bed. Sometimes the joy comes at the perfect moments, on walks when she looks up and says unprompted, “I love you.”
So often when we receive something we perceive its value based on our own biases. The line between abundance and overabundance is often my perception. My perception becomes reality. How might my perceptions need transformed? God kept God’s end of the bargain and gave me a daughter with joy; am I be willing to accept that joy in all the moments it flowers from her being?
I am thankful for a daughter that is full of life. I am thankful for ducks and bread and coffee to make it through the times with ducks and bread. I am thankful for eyes to see what God has given and a heart to accept it in its fullness. I am thankful that God cares enough to answer my small requests and pray I have the courage to accept God’s response in every moment of my life.