Faith According to Hummingbirds

“Summer’s here! I’m thinking my hummingbirds will be back,” I called out to my sister inside the house, as I leaned on the terrace railing, sipping my coffee. That happened just this morning.


True enough, one of the two hummingbirds who taught me several things last summer made an appearance this afternoon.

Around the same time last year, I was a mess, trying to juggle a full semester’s load in grad school and the demands of the crazed corporate world that I used to thrive in. I took–what was supposed to be–a short vacation in the province to clear my head and plot my next move. Needless to say, I was a little bit restless, succumbing to worry, something which I haven’t done in the last couple of years.

One afternoon, while I was slaving myself away on my keyboard, I heard a soft, rhythmic tapping on one of the wide glass windows. It was a bird, and as I glanced at it quizzically, his beady eye winked at me. And then, the strangest thing happened: he cocked his head to the right, assuming a posture that was almost human, and used his long beak to point at something behind him. It was as if he was saying: “Come and take a look at this!”  

Desperate for a break, I followed. I pushed open the heavy wooden door, went out to the terrace, and saw him fly across the lawn toward the thick growth of hibiscus plants. He flitted from one yellow hibiscus flower to the pink one before settling on a red hibiscus flower with a touch of peach around its ruffled edges. He hovered and hummed, flapping his tiny wings so fast that they were just a blur to me. He poked his thin, long beak into the flower, and it reminded me of images from screensavers and Animal Planet. It was a hummingbird, and he taught me to notice that the summer sky is the most perfect shade of blue, and that the sound of the rustling of leaves in the soft breeze can calm you in a way that no playlist can.

I’ve been fascinated by hummingbirds when I was in high school. I don’t know exactly why. There was always something so different and endearing about them. Maybe, it’s because I think “Flit of Pocahontas” whenever I see a picture of one.

Yes, before last summer, I’ve only seen hummingbirds on TV and in photographs. My fixation from high school had me doing a bit of research on them back then. I knew that hummingbirds are found only in the Americas, particularly in the States and in Canada. There are some in the Carribean, as well as in Central and South Americas, but none in the Philippines. At least none that I knew of, unless some sort of aviary secretly bred them here. That is unlikely, of course, as experts say they can’t seem to survive elsewhere. And when they do migrate, they do so only within those regions mentioned.

Every afternoon, and sometimes even in the mornings, he would visit me. In the latter part of last summer, he even brought with him his girlfriend. So there, I saw not one but two real hummingbirds. Their visits filled me with a joy that I couldn’t explain, and I would sometimes sit on the marble stool on the terrace waiting for them. A couple of times, I even brought my camera, as I tried in vain to capture them on video.

In a way, I wanted to have proof for the world that the hummingbirds made it to the Philippines. And before you even think it, let me tell you this: I do know what hummingbirds are, thank you very much–what color flowers they like, what varieties exist… Still, I wanted to have some sort of evidence just in case people would poke fun at me for imagining things or, worse, mistaking other species of birds for my beautiful hummingbirds. Unfortunately, my old but well-loved camera couldn’t do justice to their splendor. Neither I nor my camera could zoom in close enough to give even a decent image of the pair hovering over–as if whispering secrets to–the cocquetish hibiscus flowers. When I tried to play back the video, it looked as if they were just a pair of bees–overgrown ones–on the job. Eventually, I learned to be contented with simply enjoying their visits, without trying to find a logical explanation why they were here. In the end, even my parents and my sisters would wait for the hummingbirds to come, and when they did, we would share the joy in silence.   We did that for the rest of the summer… until the rains came, and the hummingbirds had left.

As I wrote earlier, their visits taught me a lot of lessons. One, we can find happiness in little things (figuratively and literally). 🙂 Two, the things that we take for granted are oftentimes the ones that really matter in life–whether it’s the “giving” between a flower and a bird  or having a moment of peace. The third lesson is the most important of all: the possibilities in life are endless. The third lesson gave me the courage to delete my sorry attempt at “capturing” my little flying professors.

I’d be bold enough to say that FAITH is like that. In Hebrews 11:1, faith is defined as “being certain of what we hope for.” Oftentimes, we don’t really need a tangible evidence to stand for what we believe in. I believe in God. I believe that Jesus’ death on the cross is what saves us from a lifetime of sinning. I believe that salvation has been freely given as unmerited favor and that we can’t earn it by good works. I believe in the promises written in the Bible. I believe that no matter what situation the world is in, God is still in control.

So, the hummingbirds are here again, like a promise that they kept.  Like the promise that I stood in faith for last year, which has now been fulfilled. I am graduating from grad school this April. I am also graduating from Every Nation Leadership Institute this March. I broke out of the high-performance prisons and am now doing what I used to only plan on doing: research and writing.

In life, there will always be those who would believe IN you and believe WITH you. Yet, there will always be people who will continue in their unbelief. There will even be those who will mock you because of the differences in your beliefs. Still, even when what you hope for seems too farfetched, “it will be done just as YOU BELIEVE it would.” And regardless of what the experts say, faith will never fail to surprise us all.   



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