My neighbor was taking a Sunday afternoon walk around our development, preparing for the Cooper River Bridge Walk, an annual Charleston, SC event. Usually, she walks at a fast pace, not interested in lollygagging. Her purpose is to push her level of speed and stamina so that she can hold her own during the marathon.

On this particular day, however, her purpose changed suddenly. Lying in front of her on the asphalt was a broken egg. Dangling out of the shell was a baby duck.

Not sure if the little quacker was dead or alive, my friend paused her power walk long enough to check out the duck's vital signs.

Lo and behold! The little guy (how do you tell the sex of a duck at that age?) was breathing. So, she picked up the shell and the duck, turned around and hightailed it back home.

The baby duck was promptly placed in a lined basket underneath a lamp. Frantic phone calls were made to a variety of wildlife experts to find out how to keep Daffy (creative name, huh?) alive overnight until he could be transported to a ducky shelter.

Thank goodness for the Internet. Lots of good advice on the care of little ducks appeared there. So, with two pet cats meowing at the closed guest room door, the night passed.

With the morning came the knowledge that a true rescue had been accomplished. The little guy was quacking already. On the trip to the animal shelter, he (the duck, not my neighbor's driver husband) tried to jump out of the basket.

This pre-Easter duck story is cute enough on its own, but it reminded me of one of life's basic truths. Our purpose in this world can change in a heartbeat. My neighbor chose to become a "duck-saver" instead of a "power walker."

Some folks forget that life is too short. Sometimes they are so goal-directed and tunnel-visioned that their days can get over-organized. If they had been walking briskly along that road and had seen that broken egg, they might just walk on by. Why stop and interrupt their major purpose?

"Take time to smell the roses" is an old saying. I'd like to create a new one. "Take time to change your purpose." Don't let yourself get so bound by a schedule that you can't find the adventure or joy in a small detour. Don't let your days be so controlled that they end up controlling you.

If you're ever wondering why on earth you're on this earth, why not take a power walk and see what transpires? You may not save a baby duck, but you could end up saving yourself.

(IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO CONTACT DR. SMITH, SHE CAN BE REACHED AT HER EMAIL ADDRESS: JSMITH798@SC.RR.COM OR IN CARE OF THIS NEWSLETTER)