Forget the Duck
By Steve Goodier
Richard Hoefler, in his book WILL DAYLIGHT COME? (1979, C S S
Publishing Company), tells about two young children visiting their
grandparents for the summer. Johnny was given his first slingshot. He
practiced shooting in the woods, but missed everything he aimed at.
As he returned to Grandma's back yard, however, he spied her pet
duck. It wasn't the only duck she kept, but it was her favorite. On
an impulse he took aim and let it fly. This time he didn't miss. His
stone struck and killed the duck.
The boy panicked. He didn't mean to hurt the bird -- he was even sure
he'd miss! But he had killed it. His panic grew to desperation and
he hid the duck in the woodpile, only to look up and see his sister.
Sally had seen it all, but she said nothing to her grandparents.
After lunch that day Grandma said, "Sally, let's wash the dishes."
Sally said, "Johnny told me he wanted to help in the kitchen today.
Didn't you Johnny?" She whispered to him, "Remember the duck."
(Blackmailed by his sister!) So Johnny did the dishes.
Later Grandpa asked if the children wanted to go fishing. Grandma
said, "I'm sorry, but I need Sally to help make supper." Sally smiled
and said, "That's all taken care of, Johnny wants to do it." Again
she whispered, "Remember the duck." Johnny stayed while Sally went
Johnny did both his chores and Sally's for several days, and could
stand it no longer. He confessed to Grandma that he'd killed the
She said, "I know Johnny." She gave him a big hug and added, "I was
standing at the window and saw the whole thing. But because I love
you, I forgave you. I just wondered how long you would let Sally make
a slave of you."
His grandmother was more ready to forgive then he was even to ask for
forgiveness. Similarly, we are surrounded by more grace than we may
realize. But a disturbing inner voice often whispers, "Remember the
duck. Remember the duck." Some people live their whole lives enslaved
by the voice that says, "Remember the duck." They never let
themselves be forgiven!
They don't know the meaning of deep peace. They are seldom free of
guilt and feel as if happiness only comes to others more deserving.
What does it matter if the whole world were to love us, and accept us
in spite of our failings, if we persist in feeling badly? Are you
sick of feeling sick about the mistakes of your past?
Maybe it's time to forget the duck! After you've done all you can to
rectify the past, then it's time to put it down. Forget the duck --
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