Nestled in a narrow, shallow valley just 100 yards from my back door is a lovely little pond. Folks, who have lived around this area longer than I, tell me that this pond was here when this land was a farmer’s field. Fed by at least one natural spring, the waters are usually clear and bright. The subdivision developer took advantage of nature’s setting and laid out the parcel of lots so that homes could be built around the pond. Houses were constructed on just the correct angle to get a view of the water; backyards were landscaped to augment and enhance the shoreline; small docks were built at the water’s edge. It was almost as if those of us who built around this pond were imposing upon it our expectations of the amenities and the ambiance of a large lake.
I’ve often said that this body of water was a pond that said, “I wish I were a lake.” However, as I have contemplated that comment, I think the landowners are saying that we wish it were a lake. The pond appears to be content to be just what it was created to be. Undaunted by our expectations of it, the pond seems pleased to support a variety of fish and wildlife. Almost anytime my husband wishes, he can stand on the bank, cast in his line, and pull out a medium size bass. The catfish are large and sport themselves rulers of the water, refusing to bite any hook or take any bait. Some evenings, the symphony of bullfrogs croaking creates a better musical score than the best Disney theme song. The spring and fall bring in the ducks and the geese. Many mornings during those seasons, the honking of a flock of geese, as they are flying overhead and preparing to land upon the pond, will awaken me.
This ‘not quite a lake’ body of water also invites the activity of human life. On summer days, the pond welcomes the neighbors to come for a paddleboat ride, a fishing trip, or even (for the brave) a swim. On winter days, if the temperatures remain low enough for long enough, the waters freeze and provide the platform for local kids to engage in a game of ice hockey. At every season, the rippling waters invite me to linger a little longer at my kitchen table to behold the peaceful and picturesque setting painted upon the landscape by the neighborhood pond.
I suppose one ought to go to nature and be instructed, as the Bible tells us to do. How often do we find ourselves wishing that we were more than what we are? How many times have the expectations, which others have placed upon us, caused us to feel inadequate or inferior? Some wish they were taller, while others are sure that shorter would be better. Most wish they were smarter. All want to be richer. Regrettably, few can attest to having the wisdom of the neighborhood pond, which appears content to be what it is. It invites all to come and enjoy what it truly has to offer – no pretense, no affectation, and no imitation.
The pond is simply a pond and it feigns nothing beyond that. Satisfied to be the genuine article, no matter what that article may be, might just be an important aspect of life. Perhaps God knew just what He was doing when He chose not to make every body of water the same or every person the same. Perhaps He knew we could learn a life lesson from the little, neighborhood pond.