On Hummers and Conflict and OGN

The air is warm and damp with the recent rain. All the birds are busy at the feeders around the farmhouse at Shady Acres. The hummingbirds have been fighting all day. I hung one of the four feeders closer to the one that has the feistiest male and hoped for some peace in the hummerhood, but it has been to no avail. The dominant male now dominates both.

I know, I know. Never hang hummingbird feeders within sight of each other. I have four and they have never been within sight of each other, but the fighting going on at the busiest one was getting next to my peace loving heart, so I thought “Maybe!” . . .

Our Girl Nettie has been fighting with herself this week. Pneumonia, new meds and general living has combined to knock her shaky props askew. She came in last night, clumping up the ramp in a way that I thought there was something wrong.

“Well, Nettie!” I greeted her brightly, hoping for the best. “Did you have a happy day?”

That was the wrong question.

“Tell ya’ troof, NO!” and she pushed by me without so much as a glance. “I di’n’ do cups today.”

She usually washes up the cups from the morning coffee break at center. She seesaws between being proud of her accomplishment and being cross at them because they won’t pay her. Sometimes she complains of backache so much that they tell her not to do it, but that doesn’t really please her either. I wasn’t sure whether this was her choice or their call.

“Why didn’t you do the cups?”

“‘Cause I was too depwess!” She said with great aggravation.

“What???” I wasn’t sure I heard right.

“I was too depwess!” There was a hint of defiance in her voice.

“What were you depressed about?”

“I ‘on’t know. Sumpin’. I ‘on’ know. I tole Areefa (her health aid at the center) to take me a jail.”

Of course we redirected this conversation immediately. But today she has had her moments and between her and the hummingbirds I’ve done some ponderings on what it is that makes conflict in our souls and our world. What makes hummingbirds (and humans) fight their own kind when there is more than enough to go around? And what causes us to tell ourselves lies until we are fighting with ourselves over things that are forgiven or are merely a figment of our imagination?

Some of our conflicts come from our sense of entitlement that looks as ridiculous to the ONE who is watching over the universe as the behavior of the dominant male hummingbird outside my kitchen window appears to me.

And some of our inner conflicts come from reasoning that condemns us to a jail of our own making that is every bit as restrictive as the bars and locks of the jail that OGN is convinced she deserves.

The thing that comforts me on this warm Saturday evening is that God has a plan and He wants to help. There’s not much I can do to bring peace in the Hummerhood, or even to change OGN’s mind about the state of her guilt. But God has a plan in place for peace in my heart as I choose HIM and HIS WAY of living. He is strong and wise and good and ABLE.

But the choice is my own.

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