By Sister Angela Ann Zukowski, MHSH
This morning I am once again being entertained by my hummingbirds. This is the first time in my life I ever had a summer off (if one imagines recovery from surgery as a summer off) to spend quality time in the mornings or evenings during prayer observing hummingbirds dive between the feeders.
I discovered the opportunity has been a kind of inner healing experience for me. I have heard that simply surrendering time to observe hummingbirds is a healing opportunity but now I understand and embrace it.
Several years ago while in Trinidad a friend invited me to a hummingbird sanctuary. I had never imagined how many kinds of hummingbirds there are or how many could be in one location each morning and evening at the feeders. I mean hundreds and hundreds. I felt I was in the middle of a hummingbird circus which was amazingly delightful. Thus, my love for hummingbirds grew.
Last week I even purchased (via Amazon) another Shepherd’s Hook and feeder since so many hummingbirds are fighting over the two feeders I have. I know that soon the hummingbirds will be headed south. Thus, offering me another glance at the meaning, value, and preciousness of time. Or, how and where do we focus our time and energy along life’s journey? How many major initiatives or activities have I allowed myself to be absorbed in, worthy as they were, yet to miss perhaps the ‘little moments’ that may offer the greatest insights in life. Or, render the richest and deepest meaning and impact on life and the life of those around me.
As the early fall days draw upon us, there is now a rush of hummingbirds on the balcony each morning. They are delightful as they scatter, chase and swiftly zoom to and fro guarding their Shepherd’s Hook domain. (Click on link below to see video). Their numbers are increasing each day simply indicating the arrival of those who are migrating from the north headed south. There, I understand, they spend our winter and prepare for their migration north once again in early summer. The hummingbirds have become a daily reminder for me of all humans who are migrating around the world today. I hold them all in prayer. I wonder and ponder who is willing to care for them during their migration or exile? (Text continues below video).
So, during these few short weeks, my balcony is one of their ‘resting & feeding’ stopovers. I really have found these meditative moments not only healing but bringing inner comfort peace and joy into my life. This is what we need today in our lives. There is too much hecticness. I hope I can bring my new inner harmony and peace into the lives of those I will encounter when I return to campus September 4th when my medical leave is over.
(Sr. Angela Ann is the Director of the Institute for Pastoral Initiatives and Professor of Religious Studies at the University of Dayton).