The Stillbird

A few days ago before work, I squeezed in a bit of early morning watering in the backyard. My eyes drifted upward and I saw a hummingbird sitting on the telephone line.

It was rare to see such a thing, as there are a few that enjoy flitting around the potted orange jubilee, savoring the nectar in the trumpet-shaped blooms then zipping away as quickly as they appeared. But this one was caught in a moment where someone had seemingly pressed the pause button on life. The scene wasn’t lost on me.

With the garden hose in my hand, I was either already in the process of heeding its advice or it was telling me that whatever respite I thought I was in the middle of wouldn’t be enough. Judging by the fact that I overslept last week as a result of completely forgetting to set my alarm the night before, I’m going with the latter.

Sometimes we think we’re taking part in some pretty serious relaxation, and then we realize we need a break from our break. In the interest of good times, we might’ve crammed too much into too short an amount of time. In the spirit of making it through the work week, we realize the moments of down time we snuck into our days weren’t enough after all. Then what?

Inevitably, something will slow us down and try to drive the point home — if our eyes are open. Maybe it’s a traffic jam. Maybe it’s an unexpected phone call. Maybe your kids need help with something they don’t normally need help with. Maybe it’s the visual of something at rest that usually goes a mile a minute — like a hummingbird sitting still.

Tonight I am thankful for the little things in life that remind us that slowing down is as important as getting things done. When the going gets tough, the tough can get going — or we can take a step back, a deep breath in, survey our surroundings, rest, then go deliberately. For the lesson of the hummingbird, I am thankful.

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