Every day a new assault. On common decency and human honesty. On truth. On health and safety for all beings. On this beautiful planetary garden that is pure grace and abundant gift. On the most vulnerable among us. On institutions that have served to check obscene greed and community devastation. You name it.
It’s not that I don’t see the daily goodnesses. The small and large kindnesses. The beauty that’s left. The life affirming actions of so many. The movements rising up to stand in the face of such large and unnecessary suffering. I see them. I celebrate them. They are consolations in a time of such moral and physical desolation.
Despite this, it doesn’t satisfy. I am clear that our culture has created and now unleashed the beasts of devastation and darkness here and around the world. Sometimes the only way to awaken humans from our trances and idolatries, slow learners that we are, is to to rattle cages and kick us out of our comfort zones with hurricane force gales and waves.
And the consequences keep rolling in…
So I look to the bees.
I remember the Book of Job, in the pit of despair, when everything he loved was destroyed. He heard a voice…
“now ask the beasts and they shall teach thee, the fowl of the air and they shall tell thee, speak to the earth and it shall teach thee, and the fishes of the sea and they shall declare unto thee…”(Job 12:7-8)
It’s time to look outside of our meager, myopic, self-centered existence—and find wisdom in the creation that we are a part of.
Here’s what Bill McKibben said:
The facts—the testimony of the psalmist, the evidence of our own eyes and ears, the emerging understanding of the atmospheric chemists—lead to the same conclusions that God draws for Job in his mighty speech. Our anthropocentric bias is swept away. The question becomes this: what will replace it?
Humility, first and foremost, that is certainly Job’s reaction. If we are not, as we currently believe, at the absolute epicenter of the created world, then we need to learn to humble ourselves.
Bees are pretty humble creatures. They teach me daily. They have plenty of their own woes. But they don’t complain much. Their main interest is in making sure the whole village is sustained. They live in the moment, attending to the problems and struggles of their daily existence with ingenuity, steadfastness and plodding dedication.
Believe me, for bees, (and me, the beekeeper) the troubles someday seem insurmountable. Chemical laden habitat, disease and mites, lack of pollen and nectar due to drought, unpredictable temperatures, poisoned water, queen bees dying right and left.
Meanwhile, here’s what the bees teach me.
Live in the moment. Give thanks. Work for the common good. Face each struggle with new aplomb and ingenuity. Connect with something life giving day by day. It will give you what you need to carry on. And there’s more…
This created world is an open book full of wisdom. Read it. Even the little postage stamp where you reside is chock full of teachings!