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.
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?
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.