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Gracious words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones. Proverbs 16:24
I LOVE bees. Ever since I can remember. I probably first loved them because my name means Bumble Bee. But there are several other reasons I never say no to anything bee-related.
1. They are very misunderstood.
I never understood why so many people are afraid of bees. It’s one thing if you are deathly allergic and can’t even mess around, but for the most part, they don’t want to touch you any more than you want to touch them. They have one goal in mind, and it isn’t to terrorize the neighborhood: it’s to make gorgeous honeycombs filled with blissful, magical honey. I always felt like I could be the one (or one of a few people) at the picnic who could defend the poor little bee. Don’t freak out, he’s just doing his job.
And please don’t hurt him, because the whole world is essentially dependent on them.
2. They make delicious honey, which is basically perfect.
Honey is truly one of nature’s super-foods (that phrase is way over- used today, but in this case it really does apply). It’s great for skin, stomach, and even sperm, apparently. Not to mention, it’s deliciously sweet.
And if you still don’t think honey is perfect, just look at how many times honey is mentioned in the Bible! It was one of the two things the Israelites had to look forward to in the Promised Land (that and milk; which is aight). It was also the flavor of that mysterious manna the wandering people got from heaven. Wisdom is often compared to honey, and honey was generally considered the GOLD standard for sweetness. (hehe, see what I did there?)
3. They are dependent on a single Queen Bee.
Ahh, the Queen Bee: one of the signs of God’s great sense of humor. While one would think that more females would be a more efficient method of procreation (more ladies to bear the babies), honey bees work backwards – all boys and just one queen to lay all those eggs! And she’s smart about it, too: the queen determines whether to lay a male or female egg in each cell of the honeycomb depending on how big it is. All the worker bees do whatever the Queen needs to let her do her job: feed her, protect her, and take away her waste. Oh yeah, and she gets special food.
Plus, any time someone would try to tell me that patriarchy is “the natural order” and is “the way God intended it,” I would think of my favorite insect, which made me think of Deborah of Judges 4-5, which made me happy.
4. They are highly productive and hard-working.
Bees are remarkably productive; a bee hive is considered a super-organism (an organism made out of smaller organisms). They are also highly dependent on each other; a bee alone cannot survive for long without the colony. They also never move without their buddies. When it’s time for a new colony to start, the queen peaces out with about 60% of the workers in a process called swarming to start a new colony.
This is one of the best things about bees, to me. Not only are they super hard-working, but they also realize that they can’t do much on their own. I don’t think there is any such thing as a rebellious bee who just wants to “do her own thing.” Bees work hard, but they work hard together. I wish more people (ahem – me) were more like that: able to accept that we can do the best things when we are side-by side with our fellow working bees.
5. But they are also very sensitive and fragile.
If you don’t know about colony collapse disorder, it’s pretty shocking. Basically, bee colonies are just becoming dysfunctional and dying off in the millions over the last 6 years or so. Scientists still don’t know why, either! It probably has something to do with pesticides or chemicals on plants, but they can’t nail it down.
A colony can also break down if the Queen dies unexpectedly, or if the weather is not good enough for her to mate, the colony is in serious trouble. The fragility of bees reminds me that no matter how strong, organized, or productive we seem, even the smallest incident can bring us to the edge. We are not indestructible; we are delicate, dependent creatures who need God and each other to get through every moment of every day.
How can we be more like bees today? Or at least share some of those “sweet like honey” words?