Today, I talked to friends that were directly affected by Hurricane Irma. They sounded defeated. And after over a week of gut-wrenching worry – of losing their homes, their businesses, and communication with many people they love, who could blame them? They haven’t slept in days and barely eaten, sick with worry about what will become of the islands they have loved and called home.
And in talking to them, they reminded me of the story of the hummingbird*.
There’s a huge forest, being consumed by a large fire. All the animals come out but they are paralyzed by the magnitude as they watch the forest burn. They feel powerless, overwhelmed – all except for this little hummingbird who decides its going to do something about the fire.
It goes to a near stream, gets a small drop of water and drops it on the fire. Back and forth, as fast as it can, it gets another drop of water and then another. Meanwhile, the other animals, much bigger animals like the elephant with its trunk that could bring much more water, stand there helpless and say to the hummingbird, “What do you think you could do here? This fire is so big and you are so small. Your wings are tiny and your beak is only big enough for one drop of water.” And as they continue to belittle its help and discourage its efforts, without wasting any time it turns to them all and says, “I’m doing the best I can.”
So here’s what I ask of you today. Be the hummingbird. Do the best you can. That is all we can do. Add what you can because as small as it seems, it is helping. And if you can’t, if you insist on being what is wrong, on being one of the animals who stand there in inaction, at least be quiet.
Rewriting your whole life as you knew it, is bad enough, without those who depreciate, undermine, and dismiss. Those labeling these efforts as a scam, please educate yourself. And if you’ve heard this was fake news, know I have a real friend living on a decimated island with little water and less resources. And she can tell you of the many others who have lost it all, who haven’t bathed in days and are rationing drinking water.
So unless you’re going to be a hummingbird, please stand aside with the other helpless, overwhelmed animals and don’t interrupt. There is work to be done.
And to the hummingbirds, don’t despair. Lots of littles equal a lot. Small grains of sand make a beach and *what is any ocean but a multitude of drops.
Please consider visiting THIS PAGE on Women Who Live on Rocks for a list of reliable places to donate to and help the islands effected by Hurricane Irma.
- Listen to the story of the hummingbird
- what is an ocean if not a multitude of drops is from a longer quote from the book Cloud Atlas. “My life amounts to no more than one drop in a limitless ocean. Yet what is any ocean, but a multitude of drops?”