People, in conflict, are fighters or flighters.
And if the lions are fighters for pursuing their prey and if the mountains are neutral because they stand firm, then I am a flighter as fast as the hummingbird, taking refuge in my bed of earth.
Andrew once told me, in a car full speed with the windows rolled down and my hair wild from wind that I was made for summer. Made for sunny days, warm temperatures, afternoons on the lake. And I smiled, but deep down knew that it’s because in terms of cars, I am a bicycle, thriving on solar power but prone to withering in any other weather conditions.
And so the problem with us flighters, us bicycles, us windows cracked open to let in the sun, is that the bad weather does come, and if we don’t get to shelter fast enough, we are drenched, because summer makes for soft shells.
I’ve been fearful in these rainy days of spring. I’ve been hiding behind my mounds of earth, wanting life to be perfect in my nest. And so I’ve avoided the world, because disaster doesn’t fit inside my own.
School shootings don’t fit. Bombings and twisters don’t fit. Dying children don’t fit. Floods and car accidents and terminal diseases don’t fit.
For flighters, disaster also means destruction, and we can’t outrun that. Disaster is for the likes of people who fight, who know how to put danger at bay.
And so, I’ve been hiding. I’ve closed my eyes the newspaper and from the live interviews on television. I’ve driven myself to distraction with the shelves of Barnes and Noble and the DIY projects at Michael’s. I’ve circled around hard conversations, even within my family. And when the world around me crumbles, I make reservations at a fancy restaurant.
And as the world rains fire and buildings give way, I watch from the safety of my hummingbird nest, afraid to even cross the threshold of my own door.
We’re safe in here, I tell my things, as we listen to the rockets burst. I ignore the phone, turn off the news, pay no heed to the screams of my neighbor. Too dangerous, I say, so I make no movement. Hummingbirds have no hands to outstretch.
I’m all too happy to wait out the storm and hibernate until summer, when I can open the windows again. I’ll wait my whole life to die bored and alone, but at least I’ll die safe and old.
I’ll watch the colors drain from my little home, because even colors need air, but I won’t open the door until it’s safe.
And I’ll stand on the shores of another’s grief, at most, dipping a toe in, because what if I can’t swim?
So I’ll judge and I’ll be blind and I’ll picnic on the beach, because we only have one life and isn’t that living?
And one day, when disaster finds my branch and knocks my nest from the tree, I’ll wonder why, because I hid so well, and gave up so much, for a safety that was never really mine.
Because colors are most beautiful when they are felt.
Because even flighters, way, deep down, have fighting gloves.
Because really, summer is enjoyed the most when it does the work of melting away the winter.
“Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.” -Psalm 91:1