I was feeling stuck yesterday in so many ways. Feeling like my attempts at so many things were just duds – duds like the eggs our hummingbird was sitting on for well past the time they should have hatched. Dark futility threatened my thinking at the same time that the hummingbird was keeping her eggs warm for naught. So I thought. Then the miracle happened; new life emerged.
But before I discovered it, I had done what I always do every morning: I read my Bible, journaled, prayed, did a bit of self-preaching, and then I got up to face the world. On the way to the kitchen I stepped on the stool we now have positioned by the front door to peer at the nest (yes, Mama H. causes me to peek often), and lo and behold, the white eggs were gone and all I could visualize at first was something dark at the bottom of the nest, then I saw the darkness fluttering. I was so excited to see that the eggs were not duds.
The next time you are having a woe-is-me kind of day, or whenever you need some encouragement and inspiration, this is the article for you. Nature can oftentimes be an extraordinary teacher. Read on.
Our latest hummingbird story began a couple of months ago when we acquired a new pet, this hummingbird. She actually chose us when she decided to build her cup-shaped nest in the ficus tree right outside our front door. She only weighs a fraction of an ounce but somehow she has been able to rule over two grown adults, having relegated me and my husband to use the side kitchen door to enter and leave the house. We obey, figuring it best not to scare her and cause her to abandon her nest. We can carefully look at her from inside our house through the windowpane in the front door and she is only about 18 inches away.
Anyway, Mama Hummingbird spent 2-3 weeks building her nest out of spider webs, moss, lichen, and plant down. (We examined an abandoned nest a while ago and found that they are extremely soft and cushiony.) Her tenacity and hard work impressed me. Then she deposited 2 eggs, which is the norm.
When I discovered the hatchlings, my mind was flooded with the following lessons I am sharing below.
10 Lessons Learned from a Hummingbird
- Small can be mighty. Mama Hummingbird’s mere presence has caused us to change the way we enter our own home. You may feel insignificant or small or unimportant at times, yet your influence may be far-reaching. Sometimes we just do not know how much we are impacting things, or how impactful we can be. You are significant and you can be mighty.
- Things can seem like a dud. But then one day it springs into life. My husband and I had almost given up on those little eggs ever hatching and were about to start using the front door again. Sometimes life can cause you to feel a bit despondent and stuck. Things can feel like a dud and they are not. The relationship or the project or the idea just hasn’t hatched yet.
- You may be sitting on life-changing or amazing things that its time has just not yet come. My husband and I were about ready to give up on Mama H. But she did her thing, sitting on her nest. Patience pays off. Give it more time. Do your thing.
- Things can get a little tiresome. Mama H. persevered. It is inconvenient for Mama Hummingbird to sit on her nest hour after hour, day after day. And inconvenient for the humans to have to use a different door especially when carrying in groceries. But the pay-off is great, for her, accomplishing her purpose, and for us, getting to watch nature and observe life unfold.
- Sometimes you just have to hunker down and wait for things to happen. Yes, continue to do the things you need to do, and then wait. It is my calculations that Mama H. laid the eggs about 27 days before they hatched. The eggs typically incubate for 18-23 days, sometimes longer when the weather is cold, which it has been here lately. The wait was longer than expected. This takes patience and hope.
- Living life well takes huge doses of hope. Mama H. sat on her nest all those days with the expectation that eggs were going to hatch in due time. Without hope it impossible to finish strong and not give up. I get my hope from reading the Bible daily.
- Ignore it when others think that you may be a fool. Let them wonder or roll their eyes. Do your thing if you know if it is what you are called to do. We were starting to wonder if little Miss Mama H. was delusional sitting there day after day when it seemed to us that the babies should have hatched by now. Good thing she ignored us.
- Use wisdom (or instinct) to take care of yourself so that you can take care of others. Now, this is one that can make me bristle if taken to the extreme or portrayed in the “you have to love yourself before you can love others” (gag). But on the other hand, Mama H. had to leave the nest to feed herself. If she had neglected to do that, she would have died and the embryos would have died. Make sure that you get the nourishment (physical, emotional, & spiritual) that you need to accomplish your purposes.
- Have simple goals. Mama H.’s lofty goals: Build nest, mate, lay eggs, protect nest, find food & eat when hungry, be wary of strangers. Likewise, pursue your goals, doing your thing. But keep it simple.
- Do the work you are called to do. Sooner or later it will pay off. You were created for a purpose. Do it. With confidence and unabashedly.
Do you ever feel like giving up? Do you occasionally feel stuck? Do you sometimes feel that your efforts just are not worth it or that they are going nowhere?
If you are a human you probably said yes to all of the above at one time or another, and some of you more often than others. The next time you do I hope you can take heart from Mama Hummingbird.
“…the mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation.” Henry David Thoreau. Don’t be one of the masses; learn from Mama H!
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