I haven’t posted in a week. I’ll be honest: I’ve had a lot on my mind (and my heart) and I really haven’t known what to say. I still don’t. It’s time, though.
I’ve been watching hummingbirds, for about the last week, battle over the territory that is our backyard. I don’t know how familiar you are with the amazing little creatures. I’m not overly so. I know, though, that they are very territorial. We’ve had one frequenting our yard all summer, drawn to the trumpet flowers and Rose of Sharon plants. Lately, though, he’s been divebombing a fellow of his species, instead of devouring nectar. We often focus, I think, on the delicacy of the tiny birds. They are amazingly delicate. In doing so, though, we tend to overlook their intensity and ferocity. I’m always surprised by it, when it suddenly rears its head at me. Like this week.
I’m always surprised, too, when something suddenly makes me think of Zoe. This week, the hummingbirds did. Like the little zingers, she was beautiful, delicate, and tiny. She was also fierce and intense. What a temper! And she was territorial, too. She had a certain time of day, every day, that belonged to her, and she was not content with anything less than total, undivided attention. So much personality in such a little package!
I think that delicacy and ferocity go together a lot more often than we realize. There is an instinct, I think, that makes it so. Just like we like to root for the underdog, we know, those of us who are small, delicate, vulnerable, that fierceness is necessary to our survival. Part of the reason hummingbirds are so fiercely territorial is because they have such high physical demands and cannot afford to share food. I think Zoe’s intensity was a gift from the Lord, so that we would be able to get to know her in the short time that she was with us. And we loved her fiercely, because we knew our time with her was limited.
Ferocity has a direct connection with feeling threatened. I see that in my backyard, in my children, in my relationship with my daughter. I find myself a little concerned, though, at where I don’t see it. Have I become so willing to be deceived that I don’t even see when I am being threatened? Or am I just so comfortable and complacent that I don’t want to extend the effort that ferocity requires?
This is what I’m pondering today. I’m praying through what I need to do in order to respond fiercely when I am threatened, or when my family or my values are. I don’t want to be that delicate creature that was oblivious to its own demise. There is value in meekness, but there is a time to stand and fight. When Christ said that the gates of Hell would not prevail against His Church, He wasn’t having a vision of us sitting still!
What about you? Do you recognize ferocity in your life, when you are threatened, or has complacency mellowed you to the point of being innefective? Maybe you’re somewhere in between. Wherever you are, what will you do about it?