Random and not so random musings from a 5th generation NE Missourian who became a 1st generation Episcopalian. Let the good times roll!

I had a surprise visitor while sitting outside tonight—a hummingbird!

Now, I need to set the stage a little. I've had a tough week. I had to make some Very Big Decisions around the office. The decisions were not easy or pretty. But I think in time, time will show they were right. But it did not help that today's Gospel, when I went to church today, was about "prophets being without honor in their hometown" from Mark 6. I am pretty damn sure right now at the office, if it turns out I was a prophet about this, I am definitely one without honor at this point. In a small medical office, moving anything past everyone's comfort zone is never well received, even if the ultimate goal is the best for patients. As Elizabeth said, when we were messaging on Facebook, "I hate this part of leadership." (Me, too. Me, too.)

About twice a year, it doesn't matter how good the sermon is, it's just not going to sit well with me because the text itself is abrading me. Today was one of those days. That's always frustrating, because 50 out of 52 weeks a year, I walk out of church feeling "uplifited" in some ways. I knew I was in trouble today, because my two favorite things in church today were "coming early and sitting by myself" and "getting the Sacrament." That means I am having one of those days where all the people need to just go away because I am not ready to "re-enter" the world. Yet I come to church anyway. Go figure. I am still not totally sure what THAT is all about. I guess I should chalk it up to "a discipline of my faith."

When I got home, I went for a five-mile walk on the gravel roads around my house, in the sun, without water, and with the occasional pickup truck throwing dust on me. The good news, I suppose, is that I have lived out at my place long enough, that the neighbors no longer think they need to stop and ask if I need a ride or had vehicle trouble. I imagine I am, in these parts, "their very friendly but kooky neighbor walking around in the hot sun." (Well, not totally. I have one other neighbor who walks around.) I enjoyed some of the roadside flowers. But I was still not totally reconciled to my mood.

So, this evening, I was lounging in my lawn chair outside, up shows this female hummingbird, not to drink nectar from any flowers, but just from the trees. She buzzed right around me—I mean I could almost have reached out and grabbed her—she was definitely unafraid of me! She’d drink...and buzz me...and find another place to drink...and buzz me. She did that for a few minutes, then she just rested in the tree.

I learned a long time ago, when ONE of anything shows up in my “outdoor time” as a visitor, to pay attention to it.

So...I went in for a minute after she left, and looked up the symbolism of hummingbirds...

Here’s what I found on some Native American totem sites and some "Jungian symbolic meaning sites"...

It is not commonly known that the fluttering wings of the hummingbird move in the pattern of an infinity symbol - further solidifying their symbolism of eternity, continuity, and infinity.

By observing the Hummingbird, we see they are seemingly tireless. Always actively seeking the sweetest nectar, they remind us to forever seek out the good in life and the beauty in each day.

Amazing migrators, some Hummingbirds are known to wing their way as far as 2000 miles to reach their destination. This quality reminds us to be persistent in the pursuit of our dreams, and adopt the tenacity of the Hummingbird in our lives.

The Hummingbird serves as a reminder that "The sweetest nectar is within!"

It’s also interesting to note that the hummingbird is associated with Xiuhtecuhtli, the Aztec god of fire (because of the ruby throat on a male a fire on his chest...) Xiuhtecuhtli is also is “The lord of the year and of time” and is the Aztec god in the first hour of the night. (Hmmm. Funny. She showed up right around sunset.)

In South America the hummingbird is a symbol of resurrection. In the Andes, the legend is that it “dies” on cold nights but comes back to life in the dawn. Here’s what I found about that...

Hummingbird is the creature that opens the heart. When the hurt that caused us to close our hearts gets a chance to heal, our hearts are free to open again... Hummingbirds teach us fierce independence. They teach us to fight in a way where no one gets hurt. They teach us courage. Having the courage to refrain from creating new trauma by communicating non-violently toward ourselves and others is an important part of healing. Recovering lost parts of ourselves enable us to become healthily independent.

I am amazed how, it always seems, with "the visitors from Mother Nature" that show up out at my place, they very frequently seem to be the Native American totem that I need to see at the moment. I am slowly trying to learn "to fight in a way that no one gets hurt", and often the someone who used to get hurt was ME.

My decisions at work have the potential to add to my trauma to myself. So did today's Gospel. (Sometimes, the Revised Common Lectionary does not work in my favor, you know?) But she is a reminder for me to "communicate non-violently with myself." That's also something I was exposed to, while reading from the book, "St. Benedict's Toolbox", a few weeks ago. It reminded me to "gently review your day." Ok, ok. I'm learning. (Slowly!)


only got a second...but,

OF COURSE I THINK THIS IS GORGEOUS...I can see that you've had enough with the podering and are releasing some of the high quality creativity that's been oozing out (I noticed)!

Abrazos, Westward HO!


This post is amazing - in so many ways.

You know that I have been praying for you and that I get the whole leadership sucks part of it too. I do not miss that from my days of doing it. I will not welcome it if it comes back.

Very much like church however, most of it is sweet and not bitter. And how would we know sweet if we could not discern it from bitter?

The hummingbird was a sacrament for you - a beautiful one indeed.

Ah, yes, dear Fran, and your prayers are much appreciated. I'm afraid I ascribe to the Rodney King leadership model ("Why can't we all just get along?"). Although I can play the heavy well, it's a role. Not my nature.

Well, and even in the midst of being abraded by the texts like I was being sanded, I thought, "But I did like sitting quietly before church, and I always like the Eucharist. Some people don't even get to do that, and I'm thankful for that."



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Kirksville, Missouri, United States
I'm a longtime area resident of that quirky and wonderful place called Kirksville, MO and am wondering what God has hiding round the next corner in my life.

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