Every morning the first two summers after my brother died, I’d wake up to a hummingbird sitting on the power wires that ran along our back fence line. I’d never seen a hummingbird light anywhere, much less stay in one place for any length of time. Then, to have this reoccur every morning for several months, moved this occurrence from unusual and happenstance to meaningful.
This hummingbird did other unusual things too. He would hover at the end of the table when Saint Sam and I ate lunch or dinner out on the patio. He’d hover across the table from me as I was working on my Eternal Scheme Daily Word book outside on the patio table. When we were inside, he’d hover near the sliding glass doors that entered on to the patio. He’d hover by the window in the dining room if we were sitting there. If I was the paranoid type, I might think this hummingbird was stalking me!
These weren’t occasional hummingbird sightings. These were multiple-times-a-day hummingbird sightings. We laughed about Vic coming by to visit, but deep down inside, I knew this wasn’t merely an amusing matter. This hummingbird was a messenger with a timely message for me to consider.
Hummingbirds, like all creatures, have their own special place in creation. When I look at nature – all nature – I am constantly reminded of God’s incredible diversity and beauty. Besides having their special place in creation’s ecology, hummingbirds can teach us something about ourselves. After all, the inspiration leading to the development of helicopters came from the hummingbird.
There is something about the lightness and iridescence of hummingbirds that elicits joy. Their gossamer-like wings reflect a rainbow of colors, reminding us that beauty is all around us. They thrive on nectar from flowers for their energy. What sweetness doesn’t inspire a light-hearted joy in the small treasures of life?
Flexibility and Ability to Change Direction
Hummingbirds are so hard to see up close because they’re constantly moving and changing directions. In fact, they are the only birds that can hover or fly backwards! Even though hummingbirds are swift and hard to keep track of, they seem to just glide as they move from one spot to another.
Now there’s where we can learn a lot from these tiny creatures! Would that our lives be marked with a gracefulness and flexibility as we navigate and accommodate the ever-changing circumstances of our lives.
Resiliency and Stamina
Hummingbirds may be tiny, but they can travel great distances. Certain species of hummingbirds migrate from Canada to the Caribbean Islands or Central America! Not only can they travel these long distances, they prepare for the long migration by increasing their weight 100% to increase the potential flying time over water. When not migrating, hummingbirds are always close to starving. That is why they must constantly look for nectar to maintain their energy. They are so efficient, they only store what is necessary to survive the night.
I don’t know about you, but it’s always easy to think about resiliency and stamina before or after a life event. I know I must draw upon the spiritual stores I’ve already laid up for myself to manage what’s necessary to maintain stamina and remain resilient in the midst of a life event. Staying consistent and faithful to my spiritual discipline of prayer, meditation, and study replenishes those stores so that I will be able to go whatever distance is necessary or required as I migrate this life.
That same hummingbird that sat on our power lines every morning and hovered at our patio table is no longer here. I was sad when I first noticed he’d gone. I didn’t have those constant reminders of Vic’s presence. However, the gift of that hummingbird – and the gift of those closest to us – go on giving even when gone from us. Now, each time I see the new hummingbirds, I am reminded of the precious message for me from that special hummingbird and my heart is healed a little bit more for my brother.