The Reluctant Hummingbird

AS Derek and I have settled into our new home in central Illinois, one of my favorite pastimes has been watching the hummingbirds at our backyard feeders. If you know hummers, then you’re familiar with their territorial nature. A male will stake out a square mile or more as ‘his’ and defend all sources of food against unwanted intruders, including wasps and bees!

All summer long, we’ve enjoyed watching ‘Hector’ (our dominant male; his name rhymes with ‘nectar’) and his ‘enemies’ as they’ve bobbed, weaved, and dive-bombed past the feeders, Sam, and even our heads! Each morning, Hector has taken up his post in either our crabapple or a nearby golden privet, ready to pounce on anyone who dared sip ‘his’ nectar.

As summer wound down, we noticed lots more ‘guests’, which kept Hector busy. Then, a couple of weeks ago, the numbers rose dramatically. At any given time, there might be 12-15 hummingbirds, males, females, and juveniles vying for the ‘flowers’ of our two feeders. With a little digging online, I learned that early September is when most hummingbirds (we only see the ‘ruby throated’ species here) fly south for the winter. They fill up as they travel, grabbing whatever small insects and nectar they find, trying to boost their body weight for long days flying (their weight is said to increase by 250 percent!).

As the days passed, leading to now, the numbers of hummingbirds has dwindled to just a few. Then, three days ago, we saw only two. Now, there is only Hector. Our temperatures at night are lowering into the forties, and we can sometimes ‘see our breath’ (a sure sign of fall!). Hummingbirds cannot take temps much lower than this, and his trip south will take some days, so I’ve assumed that Hector would be leaving us soon.

This morning, as I watched him stubbornly remain on his ‘post, I prayed that he’d not be ‘left’ behind to die in cold weather because of his love of nectar. This started me thinking about those of us who call heaven our home. How many of us have staked a claim to worldly pleasures, defending them to the last moment? How many sit in worldly ‘posts’, so enamored and enslaved by the ‘sweets’ of this world, that we forget that the season has come to fly?

Don’t be a Hector, dear brother or sister. The season for flight is nearly here. Our Lord stands at the door, ready to open it and call us to our new home. Our true ‘sweets’ are there, dear friend. Christ is sweeter than all the world’s temptations combined. Our home is not here. We must unchain ourselves from the posts and look up. Our Redemption is drawing nigh.