If you know an active beekeeper at this time of year they could probably use a hug of encouragement. This is a busy time of year!
We keep bees as a spiritual-physical practice. We began keeping bees out of a commitment to their well-being and ownership of the negative environmental impact of humans.
What has become evident in this practice of beekeeping is that their faith fills my soul. The bees work together and they work hard! Each bee rarely benefits directly from its own work. The pollen it gathers will not be its food. The babies it cares for are not its own. Yet, it is fulfilled in its purpose. Its purpose is its offering.
My favorite kind of bees are called fat bees or heater bees. I call them cloistered nuns. They live a life of sacrifice. Sometimes, they never leave the hive for a spin. They might never know the pleasure of the flower dance or pollen collecting. Instead, they live their entire lives inside the hive flapping their wings to maintain a constant temperature. This heat sustains the queen over the winter so that the cycle of gathering pollen and honey making can begin again in the Spring. The heater bees existence is faith-filled and points to the future and the success of the hive.
The heater bees are confident that what they are doing will protect and keep the colony alive. Yet, they won’t get to see the evidence of their faith. As the weather warms up their lives are over and new bees replace them. It is the spring bees that get to partake in the bounty, gather the pollen and make the magic of honey. Since honeybees are not doing well, scientists have tried to replicate the properties of honey and have been unable to do so. There is magic in their bodies that comes out in the wax, bee pollen and honey they create. The protein and nutrients that are created with their bodies is a miracle.
Shifting my mindset happens when I serve and think above and beyond myself. It centers and grounds me into the larger picture. I don’t always know what God is up to, but I do know that God is a caring God, and from the beginning asked me to care for creation. I can be confident in my gifts and be faithful in them. It is in this way that I embody my created self.
I love that when I care for the bees, I get out of my head and work harder than I want.
When I have taken care of the bees well and I rest from exhaustion, it feels really good. It feels like I have entered into the sacred dance of sacrifice for another and I am a part of their story. I am helping them fulfill their purpose. I am speaking to the fact that I haven’t given up on this earth. I still believe in redemption and restoration-even if I don’t see it in my lifetime. It is my active prayer that increases my faith. In working with the bees, together our amplified faith opens us up to God’s magic