Guidelines: Beneath the Surface

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By Simon Ambit

Do we envy the duck? At some point in our lives we have probably all stopped at the water’s edge and tossed bread to the nearby ducks that glide upon the top of the water. I have always been impressed by the ducks and how they can be surrounded by water and yet seem to remain dry. I marvel at how the water rolls so sleekly off of their feathers. I always look upon them in wonder as I see them sit upon the near freezing waters and how they can peacefully sit there with their bare feet dangling in the bitter cold waters.

As we watch the duck upon the surface, they move so smoothly upon the water with grace and ease. What we don’t think about, however, is that just beyond our vision and below the surface of the water, the feet of the duck are ever working. At times they slowly saunter back and forth to maintain poise and balance upon the water. While at other times the palmated feet are a frenzy of work, churning against the current of the river, or stirring in the sticks and mud of the shallow pond. We often do not think of the work, the strain, or the effort going on below that produces the graceful result of the swimming waterfowl.

I think we have a tendency to do this same thing to ourselves in life. I am not suggesting that we all want to move upon the water with the grace of a duck. Although I do think that we have a tendency to look at some individuals or certain situations surrounding us and we think to ourselves, “I wish I had that such and such, it looks so much better than what I have.” Or, “Oh how I wish I were more like so and so, things come so easily for them.”

If we are not careful we can get caught up in the moment, and we only see the result. We need to remember that behind the result and down below the surface, is the work that has taken place and is currently going on behind the scenes which produce the desired results. Society pushes us to see what we want and then expect to have it now. We need to combat that push by earning what we have and not giving up when things are tougher than we expected. I hold sacred the memory of my grandpa going to work in patched coveralls, with a dinged up old lunch box. But, he came home to a loving wife and a paid off home!

I have heard it said that, “The hard work puts you where the good luck can find you.” The game is often won by the team who struggled through two-a-day practices during the offseason. The race is often won by the runner with the highest endurance. And a test is most often passed by the student who stayed in the books, while classmates were at the party.

There are not many guarantees in life, but we can increase our odds of success through gut driven determination, wise decisions and sweaty brows. We are more likely to get the results we work for rather than the ones we wish for. The life of the duck; swim with grace and ease, by paddling with all you’ve got!