The Cry of a Common Loon, The Flight of a Common Woman

June 17, 2012 | 37 comments

The haunting call of a lone loon echoes across the water, finding us here on our fishing boat.

Did you know,” Dad informs, “that a loon can only fly if it takes off from a body of water. And the loon can only land on water, not  the ground.”

We watch across the lake, a smooth obsidian mirror of sky and clouds. And that one single bird, with his chessboard back, beats his wings on the water until, at last, he soars. And when the loon eventually descends for landing, his runway can only be water. He cannot land on land.

This is the way of the “common loon” — a name that comes from the Swedish word Lam, meaning “lame.” I read about it later in the bird book, sitting next to my daughters. We read that the loon is named for the “awkward way it walks on land.”

Lam = Lame. Awkward.

Everything I know and understand has taught me that I am like the  common loon. Awkward, lame, and ruffle-feathered. 

I am Lam. I am lame. I’m a common woman, helpless and incapable, save for the ways that a God daily has mercy on me, a sinner.

I’ve tried to accomplish many things by myself, believe me. I’ve tried to pull myself up by my own bootstraps, have tried to will myself into better behavior, have tried to impress God and people, have given in to compulsions and bad habits, have attempted to go places I did not belong only to find myself Lam — ill-equipped and lame, and unable to do anything other than drag my sorry-self back to Water.

And the Savior who satisfies thirsty beggars takes me as I am: a flawed woman, with awkward wings. He not only tolerates me, but He gives me a way to fly.

I sit on this fishing boat, on this one small patch of water, somewhere on planet Earth, and I can’t help but ponder these things. I can’t help but think of our gracious God who is not only somewhere “out there,” but also very much right here, assisting the lame and the common.

And always, He waits for our return. He waits, on Water, not as some stressed-out, air-traffic controller, crossing his arms over his chest. But there He stands, as a benevolent Father, with arms wide open. He bids me — common woman — to come home. He gives me a safe place to land, the only place ever worth coming Home to. It’s Water. 

Here on this lake, the sun sinks down past pines and birch, and somewhere in the shadows, a loon cries out. Then flies.

 

***
Linking with Laura Boggess and Michelle DeRusha.

by | June 17, 2012 | 37 comments

37 Comments

  1. Diana Trautwein

    Absolutely lovely reflection, Jennifer. LOVE the images…in the words and in the photos. Thank you.

    Reply
    • dukeslee

      Thank you, Diana. God is so good, so gracious, always waiting for the sinners to come home, come home.

      Reply
  2. Connie@raise your eyes

    Oh how many times I’ve had to drag my sorry self back to the Living Water…

    We don’t have loons on our lake here in Western Washington, but I’ve heard their lovely call when I visit other places.

    Reply
  3. Lyla Lindquist

    He waits. Always waits.

    This is beautiful, Jennifer.

    Reply
    • dukeslee

      Thank you, Lyla. I’m always encouraged by your words here in the comment box. And just grateful for the way you love my sorry-self in real life. (You remind me of your King.)

      Reply
  4. Jamie

    I love this. I am lame too, and so grateful for the mercy and grace He gives.

    Reply
    • dukeslee

      Jamie,

      I get so overwhelmed by God’s grace and mercy, and when I get to thinking about it long enough, I can hardly stand. Isn’t He just so good to us?

      Thank you for being here, Jamie.

      Reply
  5. r.ellott

    Just spent the week at the beach…He does use water to speak to us doesn’t He? Oh.. Iove the picture of us…all common together…Him just lovingly and patiently calling us Home…into His heart of love. Blessings to you~

    Reply
    • dukeslee

      Oh fun, r.ellott. Glad to hear you had a good stretch at the beach. It’s so soothing.

      Oh… and here’s to common!

      Reply
  6. kelli

    The cry of the loon is such a far-away, hollow sound . . . and it creates the perfect backdrop to this piece of humble meditation. Like a call to worship.

    Realizing who we are. And Who He is.
    That’s the heart of worship, really, isn’t it?

    Gotta share this one on fb. Thanks, friend.

    Reply
  7. Shelly Miller

    I love to hear the call of the loon on the lake where we vacation. And I didn’t know this about them, can’t wait to share that tidbit of information with my family. I feel like the loon most days, awkwardly trying to make my way on land and gliding on His living water. Beautiful refelction from a beautiful place.

    Reply
    • dukeslee

      I didn’t know either, Shelly. And we’ve been vacationing up in Minnesota for years! Dad has become a sort of trivia buff, regarding all- things-Minnesota-nature. And we have a lot of time to talk about such things while floating along with fishing poles in hand.

      Reply
  8. floyd

    Such wisdom delivered to this lam with eloquence. I must be part of the flock, it speaks to me within.

    Reply
    • dukeslee

      You’re so lame, Floyd. And I totally mean that as a compliment. 🙂

      Reply
  9. Sherrey Meyer

    Amazing reflection of your time on the water, near the loon, and of self. You have probably described each one of us and our gracious acceptance by our Savior of our flaws and shortcomings. You’ve given me pause for reflection right here in my summer gown, just waking up, at the computer already. Thank you!

    Reply
    • dukeslee

      Hi Sherrey! Aren’t mornings in summer gowns just THE best? 🙂

      So glad you decided a few of those special moments right here. xo

      Reply
  10. Dayna DeLaVergne

    Wow. Profound message presented in an unassuming, understated manner that we can ALL relate to. Wow.

    Reply
    • dukeslee

      Dayna …

      Thank you for your encouragement. God is so good to us, so patient, waiting and always waiting for His child to come home.

      Reply
  11. Cindy

    I love the picture of the Father just waiting patiently for me. Beautiful and poignant. Thanks, Jennifer

    Reply
    • dukeslee

      Me, too, Cindy. And it’s just all over Scripture, isn’t it? He doesn’t turn His back on sinners. He’s a God who actually LOVE sinners, rather than walking away.

      Reply
  12. Megan Willome

    My parents have always loved loons. There is an etching of a loon and a loon stuffed animal in their bedroom. Now, thanks to you, I love them even more.

    Reply
    • dukeslee

      How did your parents come to love loons, Megan? We have a stuffed loon, and if you squeeze it, it wails that haunting cry.

      Reply
  13. Beth

    We can all relate to this awkward, lameness, Jennifer. I’m so glad that you’ve used the story of the Loon to help us understand more clearly how our loving Savior waits for us to land in His embrace. Just Beautiful!

    Reply
    • dukeslee

      Thank you, Beth. God has filled our world with reminders of His grace and goodness. Even the common loon reflects His glory.

      Reply
  14. SimplyDarlene

    I did not know this about the loon, but thankfully I know the Truth about the Lord.

    So, when people say that I’m a little (or a lot) looney, that is really a compliment?

    Blessings.

    Reply
    • dukeslee

      I love every looney bit of you, my friend! 🙂

      Reply
  15. Sharon O

    beautiful… and the pictures just add to it.

    Reply
  16. Lynn Morrissey

    Such a deep and beautifully written post, Jennifer (as usual!!) God miraculously lavishes sight on the blind, loosens the tongues of the mute, liberates the limbs of the lame to walk….and not only on land, but sometimes on water. When I read your words, I couldn’t help but think of the common loon, Peter. His impulsiveness and sinfulness rendered him gauche and gangly on land. But when he took to water, daring to obey Jesus’ impossible bidding, he headed towards home, taking flight to Christ’s waiting arms. True, when he took his loon-eyes off Jesus, he began to sink. But, as you suggest, God is merciful—oh so merciful. We’re never so far beyond His reach that whether we fall by land or flail by sea, He doesnt’ fail to lift us up.

    Reply
    • dukeslee

      Ah yes… Peter, the impulsive. Mmm-hmmm.

      Your comment here demonstrates the far, far reach of God’s grace. His arm is always longer than our greatest falls.

      Reply
  17. Thelma Nienhuis (@lifeastwo)

    I have pondered all day whether the loon ever strains against the ‘you can’t do that’ the way we do… the way it seems to be etched into the very lifeblood of us.

    I imagine he doesn’t. I imagine he would roll his loon-eyes at us and say, ‘Don’t be silly. I’m a loon. I land on water.’

    I think I should like that to be my response: “I can’t do that. I’m not God, silly.”

    Lessons here, Jennifer. Deep ones.

    Reply
  18. Jennifer@Adam's Rib

    “He gives me a safe place to land, the only place ever worth coming Home to. It’s Water.”–has me thinking of Laura Storey’s song “Prodigal.” Beautiful.

    Reply
  19. Sheila Seiler Lagrand

    I love this, Jennifer. Love it.

    I’m embracing my clumsiness like never before.

    Reply
  20. emily wierenga

    STELLAR blog post title, friend. truly. and what a writer you are…

    Reply
  21. Laura

    This makes me long for water…

    Reply

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