I stood in line at Kroger, trying not to listen to the woman behind me. She was talking to a friend on her phone in a volume that pierced my left eardrum, leaving it ringing much like my concert-going days.
“Well, you know there are earthquakes everywhere. And sinkholes. And horrible weather. Oh my God, I kid you not, I heard the world is gonna end in a year.”
I thought that if God was going to reveal this date to anyone, it probably wouldn’t be her. But you never know.
“And we’re going into another civil war, by the way. They’ve predicted that years ago. It’s going to start in September.”
She did seem to have some pretty specific information. I wasn’t sure who “they” were, but by this time I was trying to put my groceries on the belt while keeping my fingers in my ears.
“Oh yea, and none of it matters anyway, I mean the aliens are coming before the end of 2015. I saw that on the History Channel.”
At this point, the aliens sounded like a nice break.
I wanted to give up, go home, and passively wait for the final days. But then I remembered the story of the hummingbird.
The Story of the Hummingbird
One day a devastating fire broke out in a forest – a huge woodlands area was suddenly engulfed by a raging wildfire. Frightened, all the animals fled their homes and ran out of the forest. As they came to the edge of a stream, they turned to watch the fire. They felt discouraged and powerless.
They bemoaned the destruction of their homes. Every one of them thought there was nothing they could do about the fire–except for one little hummingbird.
The littlest of creatures decided it would do something. It swooped into the stream and picked up a few drops of water and went directly into the forest and sprinkled them on the fire. Then it went back to the stream and did it again, and it kept going back, again and again and again.
All the other animals watched in disbelief. Some even tried to discourage the hummingbird with comments like, “Don’t bother,it is too much, you are too little, your wings will burn, your beak is too tiny, it’s only a drop, you can’t put out this fire.”
And as the animals stood around disparaging the little bird’s efforts, the bird noticed how hopeless and forlorn they looked. Then one of the animals shouted out and challenged the hummingbird in a mocking voice, “What do you think you are doing?”
And the hummingbird, without wasting time or losing a beat, looked back and said, “I am doing what I can.”
We can still make a difference . . .
I realize that there are a lot of scary things happening right now, and that the earth is struggling to breathe thanks to our overuse of its resources. But the one thing I refuse to do is give up. I might not be able to stop the sinkholes in Florida or change the weather pattern, and I certainly do not have the skills to see what’s up with the aliens.
But I can do what I can.
Even if it feels like a small drop in the bucket, it is a drop that was not there before.
What is your drop in the bucket?
“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” — Margaret Mead