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August 2011

The Beekeeping Coincidence

Eight months ago, the idea of becoming a beekeeper popped into my head.

I’m sure the idea had rooted long ago and for some unknown reason decided on that day to sprout and bear fruit.  Until eight months ago, I had not fertilized this root of an idea in any way; I had not been reading about beekeeping, watching beekeeping movies, or talking to beekeepers. Still, there it was, the idea that beekeeping was something I now wanted to think seriously about as a hobby.

Beekeeping is not a hobby that would usually grab my attention. While I am not afraid of bees and I understand their tremendous value to our ecological chain, hanging with them is certainly not at the top of my “fun-things-to-do” list, despite the fact that I am a big fan of honey.

The act of beekeeping is not foreign to me, though. Growing up, a family friend was an apiarist. He had about two dozen hives, all of which he made himself. These were top-bar hives, meaning the hives have several removable frames within, on which a wax honeycomb is attached. These frames lift out to harvest the honey and honeycomb quickly. After each harvest, a replacement frame with new wax honeycomb is added, because the previous honeycomb cannot be reused.

I sometimes helped to prepare those frames, pulling a thin wire through small holes in each end, and then placing a perfectly cut, thin sheet of wax honeycomb on the wires. A small, grooved, metal wheel was heated slightly and then used to trace the wires on the honeycomb. This melted the wax around the wire to hold the honeycomb within the frame. For a ten-year-old, it was fun to build things, but mostly I liked to watch the heat melt the wax over the wire.

I had forgotten those experiences; the memories came back eight months ago on the heels of those first beekeeping thoughts. It wasn’t long afterward that the beekeeping articles began to appear in the magazines and newspapers I regularly read. A couple of months ago, I happened upon a beekeeping television program while flipping through the channels one Sunday. I even ran into a beekeeper, with bees, at a local festival recently.

A pattern of coincidence in my life, such as this involving beekeeping, will always grab my attention.

I have long believed that God, however one might define a higher power, speaks to us through the coincidences in our lives. Those repeated presentations of something or someone are God’s way of encouraging us to be open to learning something new so that we will be better prepared for what lies ahead. Personally, such coincidences have always led me to new tools for my life-toolbox—skills, abilities, or knowledge—that proved critical in the next stage of my journey.

Whether this is the not-so-gentle-nudging of a higher power, or simply the intuitive guiding abilities we all possess, I don’t know. I have come to trust these feelings to lead me through life; they rarely fail to equip me for the path I’m traveling.

I am confident there is something I need to learn from beekeeping. While I am clueless as to my toolbox needs for the next phase of my journey, I’m ready to find out what beekeeping can teach me about my life. I just can’t seem to shake the feeling, though, that there are many lessons for me to learn from the hive and I may lack the patience to be the best student.

I wonder if patience is to be my first lesson.

___

Photo Credit::(The Unruly Hive) by Bug Dreams

 

 

Learning to let go of the wheel

It’s a difficult road from being the dad of a teenage girl to becoming the friend/dad of a young woman.  My desire to protect her and save her too often gets in the way of my desire that she discover for herself who she is becoming.  I regularly forget that she no longer needs me to remind her to fasten her safety belt or to check the oil; she only needs me to let her get behind the wheel. Truthfully, I have never been very comfortable as a passenger on any journey.

Unfortunately, the subtleties of this changing landscape elude me and my navigational skills are proving to be of limited use when I am no longer at the wheel.  In fact, the view from the back seat is much different, and my ability to successfully provide guidance, direction, and support is seemingly lost somewhere in this translation.  It probably doesn’t help that I’m prone to yell, “car…Car….CAR!!!” when she’s stopped paying attention instead of simply encouraging her to keep her eyes on the road ahead.

As hard as it is to do, I know that I need to let her navigate for herself, and acknowledge to myself that a backseat driver really doesn’t make the road any safer.  I often forget that the noise from the back seat makes it harder for the driver to concentrate on the road ahead.  I so clearly fail to recognize when her actions represent, “I will turn this car around, mister!” even when she’s not entirely comfortable saying those words.  Whether she says them or not, I do understand that I am only a passenger on this new journey at the driver’s request.

She is becoming a good driver. I am so very proud of her and her initiative in mapping out the path ahead.  While she may choose different roads on this journey than I would have chosen, this is her journey, and I am confident that she will get to the destination of her choosing.  She has her own GPS device now, and I suppose I should be comforted that it may be powered, in some very small part, by a few simple maps she downloaded from me.

It just doesn’t make it any easier to let go of the wheel

—-

So I will dance with Cinderella

While she is here in my arms

‘Cause I know something the prince never knew

Oh, I will dance with Cinderella

I don’t want to miss even one song

‘Cause all too soon the clock will strike midnight

And she’ll be gone

~Steven Curtis Chapman, Cinderella

 

Photo Credit: Holding Daddy’s Hand by Roger’s Wife

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