Try Ducks

F.W. Boreham somewhere wrote about a family that lived in a comfortable house, with a delightful river running nearby. One day the river overflowed, the basement of the house flooded, and the chickens that roosted there drowned.

The man of the house stormed off to see the landlord and told him he was giving notice that they were vacating the house.

“Why?” he asked. “It’s a nice house, at a good price. I thought you were happy there.”

“All true,” said the tenant, “but the river overflowed, flooded the basement, and drowned all my chickens.”

“Oh, don’t move because of that,” reasoned the landlord. “Try ducks.”

Waking up to find all your hens under water is a bad way to start your day. But take a deep breath—making a snap decision when you have a mad on may multiply your problems; you may forfeit many pleasant things because of one unpleasant thing. If you have good friends, good schools, a good church, and your family is happy, think twice before cutting loose.

You have no guarantee that you won’t confront equally exasperating problems in your new nest. If you’ve ever moved, you know from experience that you’ll probably be swapping one set of problems for another. And that will likely trigger another move, and another, and another—and there you go.

When a preacher becomes the target of the church’s critic-in-residence, he’s on cloud nine when a search committee that thinks he’s the greatest thing since Mac and Cheese comes calling. But he’ll find carpers among his new flock before he gets his books unpacked. The parson that calls for the moving van the first time some snarly parishioner starts taking shots at him isn’t going to be any place long.

Some of the squawking may be his own fault: it may be that his misreading of the weather is the cause of the basement flooding. In any case, he won’t reach his first-year anniversary before he has ruffled the feathers of some of the church’s best birds.

Things sometimes go wrong. That’s the world we live in. The day will come when the river rises, the basement floods, and the chickens drown.

Before you throw in the towel because of an annoying problem, I have a suggestion. Draw a line down the middle of a piece of paper. On the left, list the things that are favorable where you are; on the right, the things that are unfavorable.

The left column might run like this: 1) River is usually tranquil, providing pleasant scenery, refreshing breeze, good fishing. 2) River overflows, on average, only once every 15 years. 3) House is well-built and comfortable. 4) Wife is happy. 5) Children are happy. 6) Good neighbors. 7) Good friends. 8) Good schools. 9) Good church.

And in the right hand column: 1) River overflowed. 2) Basement flooded. 3) Chickens drowned.

You get the idea. It’s an exercise worth trying any time you face a decision regarding your home, your job, your marriage, or your church. There’s a lot to be said for loving life as it is, where you are.

Sometimes, of course, change is unavoidable. But approach it cautiously, for not all change is good. It may be that changing your attitude is a better solution than changing your location, your job, your marriage partner, your church, or whatever is flooding your basement and drowning your chickens. Before calling it quits and sulking off in a huff, try ducks.