Belong

brood

 

It is not good for man to be alone (Gen 2:18).

When I started my beekeeping adventures I did it alone.  I installed the package of bees alone. I did my hive inspections alone, and I watched the colony die, alone.  For a hobby where numbers (or the lack thereof) are so critical, my singleness as I stood in the hive yard was stark in comparison to an ideal population. I believe Honey bees would concur, we were made for community, we thrive in it, and our purpose cannot be fulfilled unless we are a part of one.

Honey bees live in highly organized societal structure.  If you think our politics are nasty imagine how worse it would be if we had stingers on our hind end!  Honey bees begin as an egg, then metamorphosize through larvae, to pupa and finally emerge from their cell as an adult bee.  It’s an amazing process!  The success of their community rests on the drive to nurture each other from egg all the way to death. Our cradle-to-grave business models don’t hold a candle to the single-minded dedication the honey bee has to her fellow inhabitants in the colony.  If I told you that undertaker bees care for the disposal of the dead would you be more intrigued about them?

I was truly blessed the day my husband traveled with me to the hive yard; since then he has built, carried, painted, cleaned, photographed, studied, encouraged and supported me in every way possible.  He’s even been stung without complaint!  Well, not too many complaints anyway.  🙂  Sharing in the tasks and discussing what we see, we have each brought our unique talents and skill, and my new colonies are indeed thriving. His wonderful photography graces this blog about my bees.

I recently attended a documentary movie screening of The Age of Love.  It’s a beautiful movie that follows attendees before and after a Senior Speed Dating event.  What I knew before I went, and what was so tenderly confirmed in this movie was how raw the need for companionship is, no matter one’s age.  I watch how necessary it is in my hives, the “communal stomach” that feeds each other; their very survival depends on attending to the needs of their neighbor

Being alone deprives us of life, to a richness only found in the company of another.  God intended for us to increase in number, to connect, to fellowship.  Each day presents a myriad of opportunities to do that – smile at the barista, return the grocery cart for a stranger who has finished with it, be politically incorrect and hold the door open for someone. The vast majority of my bees will live a scant 6 weeks, but that time is filled with purpose and activity in furtherance of the health of their community.

As I challenge myself, so I also challenge you my gentle reader, if you need help – ask for it, if you don’t need help – give it.  Strive each day to be better than you were, and press on to the person you hope to be, you want to be, you can be.  Together.

Bee fruitful and multiply…

 

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