Bees frighten me. For years I sacrificed my love of flowers because they attract bees. When I see a yellow-jacket, I swallow all the air I can inhale and keep it bottled up until the bee moves on. Wasps make me cringe. Hornets send me running for cover. I use to go barefoot in the summer. It was the way of things when I was a child. I've stepped on enough apples and pears on the ground to know they are harbingers for bees, and excruciating pain.
Just this week, I was trying to get a bit of exercise in my grandchildren's small pool in the back yard. I'd just climbed in, ever so slowly, very mindful of how I stepped, turned, and held on. (Hey, it's not easy when you are a chubby old lady with back problems. As a matter of fact, it's quite scary.) Anyway, when my 5-year-old granddaughter was about to step on the top rung, I spotted a honeybee on the ladder. "No, wait! Hand me my shoe," I cautioned. She did, and just as I was about to crush that bee, I stopped. It was obviously trying to get a drink. Instead of killing that little fella, I flicked it into the pool of water. Then I scooped it out with my flip-flop and tossed it to the wind. Honey bees are important to our environment, you know? Did you know that we are losing more and more of them every year? I told my granddaughter, we must protect those little guys. More and more crops are failing due to the lack of bees for pollinate them--not to mention the honey they provide. To me, their honey is the magic in a soothing, hot cup of tea.
It may seem so unimportant in the scheme of things. One bee? Who thinks of its significance? Who notices or give thanks for such a thing? a tiny, winged insect that flits from flower to flower, burrowing its face into petals of grace. He certainly doesn't know what his work accomplishes, nor the difference he makes with his gift to others. He gets up with the sun and buzzes happily onward through meadows, flowerbeds, and byways. For the most part he labors unnoticed by the world. He gets no glory in his travels. I doubt his peers commend him when he returns to the hive with his nectar-filled bag. It's simply what he does. I dare say, few people open jars of honey and praise him and his colleagues for all they did to provide a sweetener for their cup of tea.
And sometimes I think that is me. That is women. We do what we do because we are who we are. Our labor often goes unnoticed. Our comforting hands are forgotten once the fever is broken. Our spotless bathrooms are ignored, unless a ring forms around the tub or a blob of toothpaste is left in the sink. Our efforts to provide clean clothes go unchecked, until the drawers are empty or a sock is missing. Our ability to schedule and flit from job, to home, to soccer practice, to the dentist and orthodontist are unappreciated, until we forget an event and miss a game.
Perhaps that is why our Creator chose us to be women. He knew we could handle whatever came our way and still rise up with the sun and go about our tasks without the pomp and fanfare of others. He knew we would never waver in our efforts to sweeten another's cup by emptying ourselves into their lives. And though sometimes it seems the world turns without anyone noticing we are in it, we can take comfort in knowing we are, and our labor is not in vain. It may seem insignificant, but we add goodness by just being who we are in our part of the God's meadow. At least, I think so.