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Weary, tired, or blue? Try talking to a duck

Sometimes we all need to take a deep breath, breathe in the fresh air, and talk to ducks.

Yes, you heard me, talk to ducks. If ducks aren’t available, then take the time to have a conversation with yourself. We all occasionally need to regroup, recharge, and reevaluate where we are heading or the speed which we are traveling to get there.

Americans are work driven. We work harder than any other industrialized nation, take less vacation time, and get cranky. Young working mothers are exhausted and frayed. Many fathers are slumped with the fear of underachievement and money woes.

We wonder why suicide rates are skyrocketing, and addiction is on the rise. When exhaustion and depression collide, living becomes difficult. When fear and worry overtake our minds, then we might reach for a drink or a drug to escape the pain.

Years ago, I was a single working mother of three, putting in extra hours to make enough money.

I was under stress to perform. Much was expected of me to meet quotas and maintain my department. One day, I fainted and was in la-la land a bit longer than average, requiring an emergency room visit.

The reason I fainted was pure exhaustion. It was suggested by the physicians to take two weeks off, but how the heck was I going to do that when there were three children to feed, and I had no vacation time left?

“Lynn, come into my office.” My boss instructed the day after I landed on the floor at work.

As I sat down in the chair in front of his desk, panic enveloped me while awaiting his words. 

“You’re exhausted, and we know it. Our company wants you to take two weeks to rest, and we are going to pay your salary during this time.” Boss Bob declared. “You are a valuable, hard-working employee, and we appreciate your work ethic, but not to the point it hurts you and your family.

Tears filled my eyes, and my gratitude was overwhelming. Those two weeks were a bonus that saved me from me. I was a loyal employee for the remainder of my time with the corporation.

A great company is one who recognizes the fact that overworking does not always produce productive work. A rested mind and soul allow ideas to flow and creativity to develop.

When our work becomes our complete focus, we lose the value of quietness, nature, thoughtfulness, and proper rest. Our families suffer, our health declines, and our attitudes take a beating. There is a reason God said to rest on Sunday, and I personally believe He had a good idea.

I watch as the generation that will replace ours seems to be in a kind of tizzy. Many of these folks work to buy, buy to reward themselves for working, and then are overwhelmed by the debt they owe for rewarding themselves. They often live beyond their means and are not yet aware of how temporary possessions are and how precious time is. 

By now, you are probably wondering why I said ‘talk to ducks.’ I am a person who does not know how to relax.

I have stories running through my head while cooking a meal or washing a load of clothes. If you saw me in a hammock reading a book, then you might need to call the police because someone has stolen my identity.

After the Christmas holidays, I was exhausted. A vacation was planned and needed, so I am writing to you today from the sun-drenched desert of California. Out my back door is a water feature complete with a variety of ducks who really love to eat.

They are so tame they fly to the porch when I open the door with a loaf of bread in my hand.

They gather at my feet, eat out of my hand, and quack their joy and exuberance. Each duck is slightly different from the other with a variety of colors in their beaks and feathers.  I tell them a story or scold them if they start misbehaving, telling them patience is a good virtue, and they will not starve.

These ducks make me laugh, cause me to notice the beauty of all God’s creatures, and as the sun creates dancing sparkles in the water, I thank God for the blessing of rest and relaxation. And, that is why we should all occasionally talk to a duck.

Life is complicated, stressful, and full of expectations.

Every now and then, we require a bit of refocusing on what matters, resting our minds enough to put our priorities in order and therefore becoming the best of ourselves, creating a better world for all.