Juvenile loons

Loons are seafaring birds, a member of the Gavia family, indicating that they are awkward on land. They resemble a large duck, with webbing between their toes. In general they are black and white, with a little grey on their heads & necks and white bellies. They feed by swimming across a lake, spot their lunch by sight, and suddenly up-end, diving under to grab their prey. Juvenile loons have a distinct call they make to signal other Loons, especially those of the opposite sex. It sounds like this—


There isn’t anything quite like sitting on a dock on a New Hampshire lake, listening to the evening cry of the Loon. It calms the soul and draws one back to a simpler time where the sounds and movements of the natural world held such restful, tranquil majesty.

By contrast, a number of people with whom I have crossed paths could also be designated as juvenile loons. They have never quite grown up. It is not their playfulness or zest for life at issue; those characteristics are wonderful. It is a sense that they do not want to grow up. They only want to play; their life is split between earning just enough money so that they can play, or throw themselves into gaming, or collect things they cannot afford. They have never quite owned up to the responsibility they need embrace for their own lives. This is especially catastrophic when others must pay the price—parents, spouses, and children. Being a unremitting juvenile is not a life option.

The word Loon is a North American derivative from the Olde English lumme, meaning lummox, clumsy, or awkward. We have all crossed paths with people who just don’t seem to fit in, or who are obviously uncomfortable in social situations— proverbial bulls in a china shop. These people unsettle others, making conversation seem forced. Their lives seem to be a series of mishaps, one after another.

Some of these clumsy misfits can be retrained to be more socially appropriate:  some cannot.

The real issue is whether we can learn to honor and accept them as fellow human beings. This is no simple matter. It involves relinquishing condemnation, and forging a love out of loathsomeness. It means realizing that this juvenile could become a voice for justice: and this Loon a future leader.

All of us are at different levels, social strata’s, at different phases of our ability to contribute to the common good. This is how God would have us be— involved in the juveniles and loons of our society, while raising their status before God and men.

Have a nice week,


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