Have you ever noticed that pain has a way of distracting us from the peace that’s right in front of us? I was reminded of this recently, when my oldest daughter visited for the weekend, and we sat at the kitchen table, sipping coffee and catching up. Something caught my attention, flickering outside the window, and when I stood to investigate I looked right into the tiny face of a hummingbird. He didn’t fly away, but hovered there, watching me just as I watched him. And I smiled, appreciating in that moment a simple, joyful, peace.
About ten years ago, I visited the farmette of a friend here in Virginia, and was enthralled by the dozens of colorful hummingbirds flying around his cottage. I set out to welcome these tiny birds to my own yard, planting what the neighbors laughingly called weeds: honeysuckle, trumpet vine, rose of Sharon, even going so far as to dig them up from the side of the road. Friends gave me feeders that I filled with sugar-water or nectar and hung high enough not to tempt the cats.
Gradually the hummingbirds did come; so tiny and fast that I often mistook them for insects, and Neil and I loved sitting out on the patio with our morning coffee, watching them zoom in and zip away, as they darted around each other almost instantly.
All this came back to me as I stared at that little bird through my kitchen window. He didn’t flinch or zip away but simply lingered right there and I felt encouraged by his presence. I remembered Jesus’s words:
“Look at the birds in the sky; they do not sow or reap, they gather nothing
into barns, yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are not you more
important than they? Can any of you by worrying add a single moment
to your lifespan? Do not worry about tomorrow; tomorrow will take care
of itself (Matthew 6:26-27, 34).
Yes, tomorrow will have to take care of itself. Peace is in this moment.
Peace is in a bird, or a flower, or the hug of a daughter.
Usually it flits away as fast as a hummingbird, but sometimes if you pay attention, you can find it staring you right in the face.