We picked some flowers and offered them to Humphrey and he ate – we filled the flowers with water and he drank. We laid him on the ground, in the shade near a fountain - he would try to fly and just fall over and I would right him. We googled hummingbirds on our phones to try to get some information that would help us help the poor little guy. (Using your cell phone to obtain the internet is really not part of the “retreat” experience, but having an injured hummingbird fall in your hand isn’t either) After I put Humphrey back on his feet for about the 25th time and tried to feed him again, Christy gently suggested that I might just be prolonging the inevitable for Humphrey and maybe we should let him be. I knew she was right and it broke a little piece of my heart to think about leaving him – so I said a silent prayer for Humphrey, so did Christy, and I hoped he would figure out how to fly and get on with his life. But when we went back to check on him, he was gone.
I like to think Humphrey flew away. I’ve thought about Humphrey a lot – I’ve thought what a blessing to be able to hold a little broken life and keep it company for a while. I even have been thinking that part of the blessing is the sadness too, the sadness that comes with not being able to do more, with the realization that life is just hard. I’ve given thanks to God for friends like Christy who care for me and gently tell me when it is time to let go and sit with me while I cry about a little hummingbird.
One morning when I was thinking about Humphrey, I was reminded that when Jesus was resurrected he still carried the marks of his torturous crucifixion – the brokenness that was inflicted upon him had been transformed, but those marks were still there. I’ve been thinking about that a lot lately, just thinking no big revelation yet. But it helped me to imagine Humphrey learning to fly in a new way, with that broken wing – maybe tilted to one side, but flying nonetheless. I don’t know why a little Hummingbird named Humphrey landed in my hand, but the encounter has opened me up to wonder and I am so thankful!