Outside my front door I have a patch of lavender that the bees were watching carefully until the flowers started to come. They were pretty excited when it happened, and they have been constantly hanging out there for the past couple months now.
Sometimes I have a lot of trouble settling, and connecting with God. Often enough I wonder if he’s real at all. But sitting near the lavender when the bees are buzzing, or taking a few photos… there’s just something very settling about it: sunshine, the low buzz, the scent of the flowers…
Gerald Manley Hopkins said, “Glory be to God for dappled things, for skies of couple-colour as a brinded cow, for rose-moles all in stipple upon trout that swim…”
He didn’t mention bees by name, but I get the point.
Sometimes life can be pretty complex. My life sure is. My head can get full of so many things that it’s hard to work out which way is up. But bees remain bees and at times… well if that’s the only truth you can hang on to, it might just be enough to keep you going until other things become clear.
Psalm 131 says, “I don’t concern myself with great matters, or things too wonderful for me.” I think at times the best thing is to dump whatever is in your head – whatever agendas you have, and just go and hang with the bees and the flowers. Pull a weed or two. You might or might not hear God’s voice. But I believe the membrane that appears to separate us from him becomes thin in those places.
Sometimes we can get so caught up in saying the right things – the right prayers, reading the right verse, spending time with God in the correct way. Things that others expect us to do.
I’m pretty sure that God is in the garden, and quite happy to sit with you and me, not needing to say anything, not even needing us to consciously be thinking of him – but just being present with us in a place he made and loves, and perhaps that we’ve had a hand in shaping too.
No expectations. Just presence. Acceptance.
I find that often after those times I am stronger. Can’t necessarily put it into words – but more resolute, less self-doubtful.
I spend many hours each week talking to God about stuff. Keeps me sane. Partly sane anyway. And it’s awesome, because it helps me sort things through. But without the bees and God’s quiet company, the talk wouldn’t be enough.
GLORY be to God for dappled things—
For skies of couple-colour as a brinded cow;
For rose-moles all in stipple upon trout that swim;
Fresh-firecoal chestnut-falls; finches’ wings;
Landscape plotted and pieced—fold, fallow, and plough;
And all trades, their gear and tackle and trim.
All things counter, original, spare, strange;
Whatever is fickle, freckled (who knows how?)
With swift, slow; sweet, sour; adazzle, dim;
He fathers-forth whose beauty is past change: