Constant Motion

“Slow down. Take a deep breath. What’s the hurry? Why wear yourself out? Just what are you after anyway?– Jeremiah 2:25a (The Message)

I love watching hummingbirds. I started the habit of having a feeder in my backyard, a red container filled with sugar water, and am delighted when I see one sipping from the plastic flower. My grandma and mom set up feeders in their gardens and I have spent many delightful moments over the years watching several pairs of them buzz around, chirp, and even fight.

The thing that amazes me about this tiny creature is that it always seems to be in motion.  With wings beating at 50 times per second and the ability to stabilize its body in an upward position while hovering, it reminds me of a miniature helicopter. I watch as they buzz around my yard, occasionally coming to rest in a tree, but not for long. Their constant search for food to sustain their rapid metabolism keeps them moving. I read once that they don’t really stay still, their feet are tiny and they cannot walk.

Our society reminds me often of hummingbirds—we can’t seem to be still, we always have to be in motion. Flitting from one place to the next, jamming one activity in after another on our busy calendars….where is the rest? Our culture feeds us messages that we need to have this busy lifestyle to be “successful”. Faster, quicker, longer, race till you drop. You sense the frenzy everywhere. Everyone (even the person honking behind me while I sit at a red light waiting to turn right) seems in a hurry.

As an artist I paint things that most people walk right by. Leaves, ripples, water, nature. I look around my feet and around a few feet in front of me and I slow down. I actually look to see what is there. As we slow down, we can see wondrous things. As we slow down, we can see life. Not to display or post on Facebook, but just to enjoy and be in the moment.

The times I can sense God’s Spirit the most is when I slow way down. I have had the opportunity to go to a “Quiet Retreat” several times at a local monastery. After several exercises in prayer and listening, we retreat to individual rooms where we spend the day in silence. No radios, phones, computers, nothing. Just us and the room, our Bibles and paper. Time to pray, reflect, or sleep (!), with no where to be except meals. It is truly bliss. It isn’t easy to get started, as one often has to spend time ridding themselves of the mental “to-do” list in their head, but once you do, it is cherished time. There is no way you can’t go home refreshed.

I need time to slow down. How about you? Are you flitting around this summer like a hummingbird? Carve out some time this week to spend with no agenda in silence away from everything. Slow down. Get “un-busy” for awhile, and see what God will show you!

Prayer— “Gracious God, you created the tiny hummingbird and gifted it with a fast-moving life. You have created me to have times of movement and times of rest. I pray to find time this week to slow down and find rest in you. Open my heart to your Spirit and show me how to do this. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.”

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