Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Among the Bees - Again

Here I am down on my hands and knees, working among the bees - again. I've enjoyed and studied these small creatures since I myself was a wee tyke and have learned much from them. (See Listening to Bees). Today, in this humbling position, I take another view. 

Gardening can be mindless work, for it does not take great concentration to pull, swat, and prune. The droning of the bees relaxes me further, pulling me away from the here and now. And so my mind - free to wander - guiltlessly does so. The day is fair and sunny, but I am not.

I am feeling well enough, but my heart is heavy. We recently received news that a good friend of ours, who moved away last summer, had been diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor and was gone within a month. Several friends are struggling with depression and mental illness. Someone feels the pain of loneliness and quickly-growing children who are striking out on their own, leaving her nest empty. Others are finding it difficult to accept that their adult children are homosexual. Three children awake to find that their mother has died during the night. The years are adding up for my husband and me, with less agile bodies and slower minds.

 And so I, too, am hurting... for them, for those dear to them, for myself and my inability to do much about any of it.

As my bucket fills with the dratted horsetails, I feel tears trickle down my cheeks. I've been here before - I know grief - and I am not even directly affected by most of this. Still, I grieve and I feel for these friends and acquaintances. Those old questions come back to haunt me: Why? What? How?

Why are some of the most gifted people, who contribute so much to others, taken from us early when others, who contribute nothing at all, live to a ripe, old, age? Why can we not do a better job of helping those with mental illness find housing, treatment, and decent work? Why do we seem to see increasing numbers of people suffering from debilitating loneliness and depression?

What will those three children remember of their mother? How will they cope with having lost her; how will their grandmother cope with raising them? What goes on in the mind of the mentally ill? How can we help them to live more normal lives? What kinds of prejudice and isolation await those who are different from others - mentally, physically, and sexually? How long must they suffer?

I have no answers to these questions - only deep sadness - so I go on working among the bees. To hurt, cry, and question are all a part of what it means to be human. We feel something, and perhaps in feeling we gain compassion, which leads to understanding and caring. And when we care enough, we can finally go forth in unconditional love to comfort others and improve their lives. Each of us is capable of doing that - we just need to believe that we can.


  1. Wonderful post - we too are bearing grief with our friends and loved ones. Your friends are lucky to have someone like you to care about them.

  2. Yes, if we didn't care and feel compassion...if our hearts didn't break for others...what kind of world would it be? We can see what happens when people don't care about other people or the earth. Not caring...not feeling...that is giving up on humanity...on this precious planet...on life! Even if we don't know the answers, we can take a side. Vote for love, right? :):)

  3. Yes, compassion is the answer to so many problems. I hope you find peace soon. Also, thank you for the comments you've left today on my blog -- it's always great to hear from you! Sherrie at Sherrie Loves Color

  4. Hi Ladybug -- I've been trying to comment for a few days, and google just won't let me. I'll try again. This is a touching post, and I hope you find peace soon.

  5. Rita has said it perfectly...
    i too...have lost many close to me...too soon...and grieving...thinking...wondering...feeling...questioning...it's all part of life...it would be a shame NOT to feel this way...

    it's good to write about it...your thoughts and feelings...to work out in the gardens...in nature...it helps to clear the mind...

    i can understand...and relate to your post here...i feel it in my heart...