My Rose of Sharon shrub is finally blooming—a month later than usual—and bees are visiting every morning to gather pollen. As I watch them crawling into the flowers, I wonder where they have been during these weeks of waiting for the flowers to bloom. Do bees anticipate nature the way I do?
Nature has been snagging my attention this year more than in other years—probably because I am home all the time instead of spending my days in an office. My sunporch is now my office, and the life beyond the windows fascinates me.
Watching the bees gather pollen this morning, I wondered if they gather only what they need and then leave the flower, even if it means some pollen has been left behind. Will another bee enter the same bloom to retrieve the remaining pollen? Do bees have deadlines for the work they need to accomplish?
The pandemic has given me lots of time to ponder all sorts of things I had not thought of before—like the habits of bees—which has led me to think of how I am going about my work and living my life.
I wasn’t feeling well the other day, and as I rested on the sofa, I thought about the possibility of getting the virus and my possible demise (I am well into the age group most likely to die from the coronavirus).
What is left undone? I asked myself.
Some of the answers are predictable—places I still want to visit, renovating my kitchen, finishing the new garden bed, books I want to read and becoming more proficient in Polish (which is connected to the aforementioned travel—I have a dream of living in Poland for at least a few months after I retire. It is the country of my ancestors, and I love the feeling of connection I have when I am there).
All of these, though, are desires, and I think I could let go of them.
What do I still need to do?
This question gets more to the heart of the matter. Like the bees, I, too, have a job for which I was created. Have I done it? Am I doing it? Am I as determined to fulfill my personal mission as that bees?
After one of my earliest retreats, I read a book about extending the benefits of retreat time, which suggested asking these questions when making decisions:
Is this what I really want?
Will this matter tomorrow? In ten years? At the end of my life?
What do I think? Feel? Need? Want?
It can be easy to get caught up in the daily activities of life, but this pandemic has stripped away much of that casual activity and I am left with a great deal of solitude.
What do I want out of my life? What really matters?
The words from Micah 6:8 come to mind.
It is both simple and challenging.
What are you pondering during this time?