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I found this hummingbird on the back porch lying by the glass door. He was hurt from hitting the glass. I don’t know how long he had been there, but I knew it was not good for him to be knocked out and lying on the ground. Fire ants would kill him quick if I didn’t get him up. He was breathing and his eyes blinked, so I felt he had a chance. So I picked him up and put him on my lap to observe him.

We have birds hit the glass often, even though we placed reflectors on the glass. The glass reflects the blue sky and birds think they are flying in open space. I have seen hummingbirds recover after a few minutes and fly away. I’ve also seen goldfinches do the same. The main thing I do is just make sure a dog or cat, or ants don’t get them before they can recover.

So I sat and watched this little juvenile hummingbird for about an hour. It looked like he was getting better. He started opening his mouth again and started turning his head. In time, he began to flap his wings and finally flew off my lap. But he didn’t go far.

I tried to get some nectar on his tongue to see if he could drink. Yet, it did no good. He fluttered one more time and that was it.

I felt so sad for him. I had photographed him for days as part of a photo project. I knew he was the same bird by the single spot on his throat. Now all I could do was take him and lay him under a bush and covered him in saw dust.

I know this may sound a little off, but I wonder if the little guy has a bird-spirit of some kind. Perhaps someday when I’m in heaven he might come by and thank me for standing with him in his last hour?

OK, that’s a little sentimental. There was a time, though, when I stood with another stranger in her death.

I was serving as a chaplain in a large hospital. It was night and I was making rounds. I was told by the nursing staff of a lady who was near death. She had no family with her. She was dying of cancer and she was alone. So, I went in and took her hand. She was not able to talk, so I just held her hand for a long time. I could tell she knew I was there. She gripped my hand in response to my hand’s touch. For her that night, I was just a stranger standing with her in her last hour.

When I came back for duty the next day, they told me she had died that night. I’ve often wondered if my presence with her helped her pass into the next life. I wonder for her too, if we might meet again. The spirit lives after death. If we have eternal life, as I believe we have in Christ, and if she has that life, then I believe we will meet again. So, maybe some time beyond time we can talk about her final hour. I hope in my final hour, someone will stay with me as well.

As for the little bird? Only God knows. I just know that love is about being present when someone needs you. Is there some you can stand with?

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