A poem by Mary Oliver comes to mind when I watch hummingbirds jostle for position. What will you do with the opportunity God gives you? #opportunity #hummingbird #observation #Christianity

The Summer Day, a poem by Mary Oliver, ends with this opportunity question:

“Tell me, what is it you plan to do/with your one wild and precious life?”

Although she speaks to a grasshopper she sees on a summer day, the question resonates with everyone.

We have so much opportunity, we who live in the land of technology, democracy, and peace. Despite our advantages, we share a trait with the grasshopper—we all have just ONE wild and precious life.

And whether we believe it or not, that one life matters. The preciousness of each life is written in the palms of the One who died for us. And he died for all of us—not just the ones who keep the pews warm once a week.

The choices we make—to love or to hate; to speak out or remain silent; to uplift or tear down—are all opportunities that we either take advantage or miss. All too often I miss the opportunity to do the right thing.

The choices we make–to love or to hate; to speak out or remain silent; to uplift or tear down–are all opportunities. #fmfparty Click To Tweet

I get caught up in my agenda, my plans, and my ways of doing things. As a teacher, summer provides the perfect opportunity to slow down, reevaluate, and observe.

An Opportunity to Observe

I sit quietly on the back porch, hand extended with a capful of sugar water in a red lid. Hummingbirds land like whispers against my fingers. They scold and jostle and I wait to see what happens.

Hummingbirds, like humans, are notoriously territorial. Our form of territorialism comes out as comparison, but it’s the same thing with a different name. We fear our Father doesn’t have enough opportunities for all of his children.

But he does. That’s why he gave us one wild and precious life—so we can explore the opportunities, dive deep in the nectar of possibility and then do something with the gifts he gives us.

What will you do with your precious opportunities?

A poem by Mary Oliver comes to mind when I watch hummingbirds jostle for position. What will you do with the opportunity God gives you? #opportunity #hummingbird #observation #Christianity

This post is part of the Five-Minute Friday quick write hosted by Kate Moutang. Join us each Thursday night on Twitter (#FMFParty) for fun and fellowship, then grab a pen and start writing when the prompt goes live!


  1. Hummingbirds…uh, they tend to attack me. Got stabbed in the neck a couple of times with those pointy little beaks. Embarrassing, because everyone else in the animal kingdom seems to want me to adopt them.

    I always thought the secret
    was to take life with both hands
    and dive into the deepest
    pool in all the lands.
    But now my hands are broken,
    and one last plunge awaits
    that will be the token
    of my earthly fate.
    But these are not my burdens,
    but rather, play the part
    that though this may be curtains,
    it’s freeing up my heart.
    Closer now, I have no doubt –
    “Heaven, here I come – WATCH OUT!”
    Andrew Budek-Schmeisser recently posted…Your Dying Spouse 614 – For A Friend I’ve Never Met {FMF}My Profile

  2. Anita, what a great post! I have heard that question before, and I love it. This whole post goes along with my One Word for the year: Live. How will I live? Will I lean into the Lord and see what He has for me? Too often, I don’t do this. I live moment to moment, trying to get the next thing done. What I want to do more of is live each day, looking for the opportunities God placed in it. Thank you for shifting my perspective, friend!
    Jeanne Takenaka recently posted…Opportunity: When Opportunity Feels InconvenientMy Profile

  3. Thank you Anita! I love to observe. In fact my blog is titled: Keep a sharp eye. I’m crazy about birds, nature and well–all of it! I’m coming over from FMF.

  4. WOW!!! Love this… that quote… the video… the gorgeous photographs! (And again… we were SO CLOSE last weekend… blocks away from each other I’m guessing! Next time, for sure!) xoxo

  5. how cool anita:) wow! i/m hoping to set up a hummingbird feeder here at our new house when i get settled in. i’m hoping that will soon happen:) i’m at 53 today.

  6. Inspiring thoughts for me this Monday morning. Yesterday we were traveling from Kansas back to Illinois and we listened to “Killing Jesus” by Bill O’Reilly, a book on CD. It is a historical account of the life of Jesus, along with a description of the political climate. Jesus did so much for us with so little. It is humbling. Praying that I can use all the opportunities God gives me for His glory.

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Anita Ojeda

Anita Ojeda juggles writing with teaching high school English and history. When she's not lurking in odd places looking for rare birds, you can find her camping with her kids, adventuring with her husband or mountain biking with her students.

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