on doing the best you can

Today a friend shared a short film about a hummingbird on her Facebook wall.  Watching it I was struck by the simplicity of the story, how one small bird tries to put out a forest fire, while all the other animals sit back, watch the flames and worry.  The hummingbird carries water one drop at a time, and how when told by the other animals that they are doing no good, they say ‘I am doing the best I can’.

Now I doubt if the hummingbird ever did put out the fire, but I know for sure that they could look themselves in the eye.  Because ‘doing the best I can’ is about all any of us can do.

There will be times when things look bleak, when through illness, sadness or pure exhaustion we all feel defeated. It is at those times we have to do the best we can.  When the road feels too long, a single step brings us closer to the end.  When the pain threatens to overwhelm us, focussing on the good can give a little respite.  When we see sadness, offfering a hug or a kind word is often the best we can do, Never forget that all these little actions add up to one huge difference.

In life I believe it is not the grand gestures, not the exotic holidays, new designer clothes or expensive gifts that make the difference.  It is the small things.  The regular telephone call to a lonely relative, that sometimes you are too weary to contemplate and yet when you ring, as you always do, you can hear the difference it has made in the tone of voice at the other end of the line.  Just ten minutes out of a busy day to make sure someone knows that you care.  It is cooking your family their favourite food, and not minding when they are too knackered to notice.  It is smiling at a stranger,  because you can, and getting that smile returned.

In the scheme of things it is the people who pay attention to the small things who make the world go around.  I am talking about those who don’t mind (much) being the one that always keeps contact between friends, because they know friendship has a value beyond compare. It is the people who notice how others are feeling and reach out to them when it is needed.  It is the ones that make us laugh, for a laughter is a tonic and we all need more fun in our lives.  These people are the hummingbirds of life.  Slowly, quietly going about doing the best they can.

In this mad crazy world where it is difficult to know what to trust, who to believe and what to think, we can all choose to be the hummingbird, and not the animals who sat at the edge of the fire worrying about devastation to come. We can do the best we can, everyday in every way,  in this way we can all change the world.

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