Almost exactly a year ago I wrote about the hummingbird in my journal. It was the end of July 2013 and I had left the church I loved. I was so torn up about it. This church was the first church I ever attended regularly and now in my 40’s finally found a home. It was special to me and it broke my heart when I left.
It still stings after a year. Leaving took everything I had and I was an emotional wreck. It was during this turmoil that I wrote about the hummingbird. I was reminded by it today as I sit here thinking about “emotion”. From memory I will try to recapture story.
It was at dawn that I ventured down to what I call the sanctuary. It is my sitting area in my garden. I was drinking coffee and meditating with God and together we waited for the sun. I started to feel the peace as I watched the rays hit the dark areas of the landscape, chasing away the gray and intensifying the color. It was right before the sun reached the area of my sanctuary that a humming sound of wings caught my attention. My eyes moved away from the onward march of the sun to the hummingbird’s delicate body darting from flower to flower. As if in slow motion the bird changed its course and hovered right in front of my face. If I was to reach out I would have felt the breeze from its rapid moving wings. In that instant the sun reached my area and the bird was drenched in light. The wings caught the light and created a halo around the bird. It took my breath away. A photographer’s dream shot, but not willing to break the spell I refuse to reach for my camera. The beauty of the bird will forever be etched in my mind. Then it moved and my garden was aglow with the morning light. I saw the rainbow reflections of spider webs, the lazy flight of dragon flies, small gnats dancing and the hummingbird who went back to its feeding. I watched the beauty in front of me and I praised God for the gift he was giving me. “Pay attention” I felt God was saying. I watched the bird dart from flower to flower. I watched it as it visit a patch of the once beautiful Zinnias that I planted for the first time this year. The head of the flowers were as big as my fist and they were the fading stars of the garden. A pale pink zinnia had wilted on its stem and was a dried remnant of what it once was. To my surprise the hummingbird went to that dead flower many times. Until it seem to realize that there was no nourishment to be found, and it flew onto the flowers that were in bloom. After a few moments the scene lost its intensity and the garden look as it always did. The whole thing seemed as if it was a dream. Maybe it was.
I contemplated on the words that still echoed in my mind, “Pay Attention”. I thought maybe the bird remembered the sweet tasting flower that use to be and maybe he went back to the flower as a tribute to what it once was. I am sure that flower tasted as good as it had looked. The important lesson I think I am to learn here, is that although the bird missed the flower, it kept moving to other places in the garden for nourishment. Once upon a time, the flower was a fulfilling place to gain what it needed to survive. But once it was past its prime, the little bird had to move on or it would perish.
During the transition of moving out of my safe haven of a church to the great unknown of another church (if there was even to be another church) this vision that I witnessed was significant. I was no longer receiving nourishment from the church and I was to move on to something that would provide me with what I needed. This has nothing to do with the church itself. It did give me what I needed when I needed it. It was time for me to grow up into something more. Like the hummingbird, I was to keep moving.
When I deal with powerful emotions I have a tendency to “stop”. To lay down in agony and wish for what was. For whatever reason, it seems easier to stay there than to move beyond the pain of the moment. So what am I to do with all the emotions that goes with the loss? In my reflecting and researching I found that emotion means movement. One of the definitions I found was “to move” or “be displace”. Another, and it fits perfectly here, “emotion is the driving force behind motivation”. Emotions are to drive us to move. The unpleasantness of the intense emotion is to propel us forward. It is hard to grow in the standing still. Struggle equals growth.
I am looking back a year from the vision of the hummingbird and I can see now that because I did move on that I have found peace in the event that caused the pain. I have grown and matured outside of the comfortable walls of my church. I long to return, to taste the love I felt there and maybe one day I will be able to. I am no longer bitter that I had to leave, the anger of the situation has dimmed and the pain of leaving my friends has subsided. I do visit the church and it’s like going home. Like visiting the place where I grew up. Out here “on my own” I have matured in my spiritual walk. I have taken bold steps to walk a path I probably would not have followed. I have truly learned that God is everywhere, not just in the building that I attend on Sunday. He was in that morning sunrise that drenched my world in golden light, he spoke using a small little bird. A lesson I will never forget. I love my church, I love the people who took this lost soul and gave me stable ground to finally stand upon. It is from this foundation that I am able to be “out here” standing on my own. And for that I will be forever grateful.