Sunday, August 5, 2012

Wee Teacher, Big Lesson

The sound met me as I rounded the corner~~a frantic thrumming punctuated by sharp whacks to the glass. A male rufous hummingbird had flown into our partially enclosed porch and was now desperately seeking escape by repeatedly hurling his small self against a south~facing window. 

I quickly swept the plastic plant~watering bottles off the shelf directly below him as I calculated how best to assist. I didn’t want to hurt those fiercely beating wings with an inept human response.
Again and again and yet again, he flung himself forward, trying to break through the pane of glass with tiny beak and flurry of wing. I knew I needed to do something. As I tried to wrap my hands around him, though, those spirited little wings resisted, beating all the faster.
Until they didn’t. The rufous slowly slid down the window and lay on the shelf absolutely still. The alarming angle of neck against glass made me think he might have beaten himself to death. But no, it was sheer exhaustion I witnessed. Or perhaps, finally, surrender.
I gently wrapped my fingers around his tiny body, less than 3 inches in length, and could feel the life pulsing through him, though he moved not at all. One sideways step and we were in the open doorway. I extended my arms, opened my hands…and he was gone.
For several seconds I could hear the more characteristic hummingbird trill as those powerful wings pumped air. Then silence~~and the memory of frantic battle giving way at last to whatever was to be.
We often struggle as the rufous did. Our battle may be with another person, but it is more frequently an emotion we resist~~sorrow or fear, perhaps~~or a situation not to our liking. We throw ourselves against our imagined foe, believing if we just fight hard enough, we will force a change and be released into freedom.
Usually, though, our struggle merely exhausts us. Perhaps we even harm ourselves a bit in the process. And as with the rufous, in our desperation we are often blinded to a solution lying just around the corner.
So what are we to do? Stop our senseless flailing. At the very least, such a pause will allow us to take stock of the situation and consider our options.

But often something more is called for. Just as our hummer friend, we must surrender. We need to let go our frantic fight and accept what is. And when we do, we just might find ourselves scooped up by the hands of Grace and released into a clear, blue expanse of sky.

May you feel yourself held by loving hands, rather than hurtling against imagined foes. And may you then fly free!


Loanne Marie