My maiden name is Waddell. As a child the name caused me a lot of unhappiness. Children would call out “Waddle, waddle, quack, quack.” Many duck jokes and references were made at my expense. I cried a lot. It seems silly now. As an elementary school child, it was hurtful.
Fast forward to three years ago when God called me to be a writer. I felt driven to journey for the first time by myself across two bridges to get to a writers’ conference over two hundred miles from my home. I was apprehensive about the trip but also confident that God was with me. During the drive, every time I felt panic creep in, which was quite often, I would grip the steering wheel with one hand and raise my other and declare “Jesus is my co-pilot”.
When I arrived at the conference venue, I approached the porch and saw a group of people, many wearing little plastic ducks on strings around their necks. There was a duck crossing sign in the parking lot and a banner with ducks on it welcoming people to the conference. As I entered the building, I was greeted by more ducks. Stuffed ducks on couches and plastics ducks on tables full of books. I was surrounded by ducks. I flashed back to my childhood. Was I having a nightmare? Had I been wrong about God’s call?
I went to the front desk to register for the conference and was given my room key and a folder of information. I went to my room and began to go through the papers. There was a page with ducks printed on it along with a story that was written by one of the conferees many years ago. The story described her first experience at the writers’ conference and likened it to joining a flock of ducks and plunging in along with the group. It also explained that writers, quirkiness and all, were chosen by God. They were odd ducks.
I had an amazing week at the writers’ conference. I made new friends and I learned a lot about writing. I learned to embrace who I was and what God wanted to equip me to become. I joyfully accepted that I was an odd duck. I went home wearing a plastic duck on a string around my neck.
I retuned to the conference last year. My fear of driving over bridges and encountering ducks was gone. I was welcomed by my friends from the previous year and made some new ones. I learned more about writing and in the process, myself. I won a duck trophy at a grammar competition. I went home more confident in my call to write and grateful to be an odd duck.
During the year, I wrote a few short stories, worked on my book concept, started an author’s blog, and ordered business cards declaring I was an author. Two weeks ago, I returned to the writers’ conference for the third time. I was very relaxed during the drive and was excited to see everyone and lean more about writing and being published. I had my short stories critiqued and met with editors, agents and publishers. The critiques and meetings were very encouraging. I am confident and excited that whatever the year ahead holds, it will be according to God’s will and His plan for my life. I am positive that I will never, ever again be sad at being likened to a duck.
“Faithful is He who calls you, and He also will bring it to pass” 1 Thessalonians 5:24 NASB