I am officially one of the cool kids now. A few weeks ago I went whitewater rafting, and I didn’t even fall out of the boat. Never mind that the rapids on that particular day were about as dangerous as my bathtub . . . I was rugged and awesome. And I had fun.
But the most fun I had that day happened before I ever left the main site – where you pick up your gear and your guide. I’d buckled up my bright orange life jacket and snapped on my bright orange helmet, and I waited quietly outside for the rest of my crew to join me. There I was, on the sidewalk in front of the bus that would take us to our entrance location, standing perfectly still, daydreaming about who-knows-what, when a hummingbird flitted in front of me.
Right. In. My. Face.
He stayed there, suspended in air, looking directly in my eyes as if to say, “You’re the strangest-looking flower I’ve seen . . .”
We had a moment. We connected. Then he flew away. Clearly, he had more important things to do.
I’ve thought about my tiny feathered friend many times since that day, and about the difference between his life and mine. While I’ve always wanted to live large, he lives small. And I wonder if he’s not making the better choice.
He doesn’t worry about keeping up with the Sparrow-Smiths or the Jay-Joneses. He gathers what is required for his family, and he’s content. God gives him everything he needs for a full, hummingbird life.
And what a life he lives! It’s filled with fine, fragrant flowers and sweet, syrupy nectar. I can’t help but think he’d miss all those blessings if he were living large, connecting to the bigger world on Facebook and Instagram, and trying to outdo the Finch-Flannagans.
When I live small, I’m more content. When I stop worrying about everything I don’t have and concern myself with what I do have, my life is deeper, more profound. When I nurture the relationships right in front of me, instead of chasing after internet friends I rarely (or never) see in person, I’m more fulfilled.
I feel like the whole live large culture is a trap. It baits me, making me think something better lies just beyond my reach, in the next yard, the next county, the next income bracket. It sends me in search of the rainbow’s end, but it keeps moving the finish line.
I’m glad I had a close encounter with that hummingbird. I’m glad he has the good sense to live small. And I’m glad that when I look around at my own yard, I find an abundance of flowers and trees and—most importantly—the most beautiful people I’ve ever seen. God has truly given me everything I need for an abundant life, and it’s right in front of my face.
“Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?” Matthew 6:26.