OUTDOOR TRUTHS: If We Messed Up, Just Keep Learning and Do Better (Even in Duck Hunting)
By Gary Miller
Ducks can be a finicky lot. It seems that the conditions almost have to be perfect before they will land – especially if that landing happens to be in front of your blind. Not only do the weather conditions have to be optimal but even the decoys have to look a certain way. And then there’s the wind. My duck hunting expert friends will have different blinds set up over the same area just to be ready for certain wind directions. There does seem to be as much strategy in duck hunting as there is in most other forms of hunting. It’s not just show up, sit down, shut up, and shoot. Most duck hunters will say that a duck hunter’s life is made up of either hunting or getting ready to hunt. I would say that goes for all men and women who have a passion to hunt or fish. We are always planning, preparing, or participating in the sport we love.
There are several things I like about duck hunting but the main one is that I get to be the ignorant one. Since I am fairly new to ducks, I’m the one who gets to watch all the others do the things that are most likely to make the hunt successful. I get to observe the decoy set up, overhear the plans, and listen to one hunter after another call out the names of the different types of ducks as they fly over. And sometimes they let me shoot first! What a deal. But I’m not sure how long this will last. There’s no doubt there will come a time, after a few more mornings in the blind, that I will be expected to do my part, learn my trade, and shoot along with the rest of the gang. And it’s the way it ought to be.
Like my duck hunting experience, there also comes a time in my spiritual life where I have to move from a consumer to a contributor. I have to take my place from one who has watched and heard to one who is taking the lead. I have to apply the techniques I’ve learned from the “experts” to the life I live every day. Perhaps the greatest truth to remember when this time comes is that we will not get it right at first. Heck! we’ll never get it right, but we will get it better each time. And just as we would not expect our first time setting out decoys or calling ducks to be good, neither should we expect our first experiences as a follower of Christ to be good either. If we are not going to quit hunting when we mess up the decoy setup, then we don’t need to quit following Christ just because we mess up there either. Let’s just keep learning and let the mess-ups make us better.
Gary Miller can be reached via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.