Writing for Ducks

Writing for Ducks_Image

Today, we watched Frozen twice. Once because they were tired and once because I was tired. Usually we do puzzles and read and bake and play in the little pink kitchen that’s always askew in the corner. But today we snuggled, we danced, we sang. We also ate Kit-Kats and had chocolate smeared on our cheeks for most of the afternoon.

There’s a scene in Frozen when Anna is finally outside the gates, experiencing life unhindered for the first time since her sister’s powers were hidden, and she reaches down to hold a family of ducklings. Every time my daughter sees this, she puckers her lips, her eyebrows furrow and she extends her hands out in front of her towards the television, hoping that by some magic those ducklings will hop on over into her hands.

The movie goes on and she’s left empty-handed every time, tucking her chin down with pouty lips until the melody distracts her back into a smile. She anticipates the disappointment because she knows it’s impossible to hold those digital ducklings, and yet she tries every time. She just loves those baby ducks so much.

Last week I was pretty discouraged about my writing. I have goals and dreams that seem so unattainable from where I am, now. Every day, though, I’ve committed to sitting in front of my computer and hammering out something. I don’t care what “something” is as long as it’s there. Words on the page—evidence of a somewhat productive hour of solitude during naptime.

“Why do you write?” A gentle question that often comes across as a challenge. The next one follows with a whisper. “Will failure make you stop?”

I look at my daughter and see those downturned lips and her stiff arms, refusing rejection from fluffy yellow ducklings for the second time today. She really wants those ducks, and the knowledge that they will never jump out of that television isn’t stopping her from going after them.

In high school I wrote my thoughts down on loose-leaf binder paper strewn around my room. I imagined that would be its final resting place until one day I carefully transcribed an allegory I wrote about an acorn and an oak tree to share with a friend of mine who was struggling. Weeks later she pulled it out of her wallet; it wore deep creases and tattered edges—evidence of her frequent references to my carefully woven words.

A seed was planted in my mind that day my friend held my first work so near to her heart—a seed that grew into a heavy realization that my words matter. My writing matters and has the ability to change people’s lives, to impart hope and spread joy. Even if it’s just one piece of paper, folded in one wallet, creased and worn until its nearly unrecognizable. It matters.

I softly tell my daughter that the ducks can’t come out and play. She looks at me incredulously and I see the glimmer of hope in her eyes disappear for just a second.

“Wait.” The little light comes back even brighter. “Look what Mommy has.”

I retrieve two neon Easter chicks and gingerly place them in her expectant hands. Joy overcomes her and she giggles and smiles, dancing along to the music and the scene with the ducks—the ducks that were once out of reach forever.

Perseverance and a determination to hope. I love the spirit of my little girl. If I never get published, if I never write a book, if I never become “famous,” will I still stretch my arms out over the keys and type, type, type? Will my fingers keep working, knowing that their toil is reaping nothing but the gratification of working overtime? Will I be able to rest knowing my stories may never take flight? Yes, yes, yes.

I write because I was created to; the Lord gave me a gift to worship Him and to communicate His grace. No matter how many times a scene of discouragement plays before my eyes, I will keep writing because I love it.

I believe that if I extend my arms far enough and purse my lips hard enough, it will be worth it. I really want those ducks.

Sarah Elizabeth Finch

Sarah Elizabeth Finch

Sarah Elizabeth Finch is a writer and an amateur chef for her husband and two children under two. She is passionate about Jesus, community, motherhood and advocating that every life is precious. Most days you will find her dancing with her children, dodging the piles of dog hair left behind by her beloved German Shepherd Audrey. Find her on Instagram as @sebstuff.
Sarah Elizabeth Finch

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