The Other I

March 10, 2012

About the birds and the bees

I was watching the bees buzzing around our lavender bush this morning and I felt as if I’d gotten some clue about a problem that’s been nagging at me ever since I realized that, for whatever reason, I am not going to save the world after all.

I keep looking around at all the suffering and all the problems in the world, especially innocent suffering – like starving or abused children, or people bombed out of their homes or lives destroyed by natural or man-made events.  And of course, our global media makes it all so much more immediate.  I hear about the train crash in Poland that kills 30 people the morning it happens.  We practically can watch the bombs being dropped in Syria, and the children and mothers starving in the Sudan.

And I feel torn by guilt that I’m not doing anything to stop any of this.  Even worse, I often deliberately ignore it because I find the anguish so draining that it debilitates me.

As I was watching the bees, I was thinking how important they are to human life.  If they don’t pollinate the plants that feed our animals and feed us, we will starve.  We are absolutely dependent on them.  I doubt very much that the bees are aware of their importance in sustaining our lives.  Their task is to live as bees.  It is not their task to do all the other things we also need in order to survive.

I’m not supposed to save the world.  I’m a single limited human being in an enterprise is as gigantic next to me as the whole earth is next to that single busy bee.  What I am supposed to do is live a full loving human life to the best of my ability.

So I will try not to pass up the opportunities that come my way to be kind, to share what gifts and talents I may have.  It’s hubris to think I can do more than my small human life permits.

I am much more like a bee than like a god.

And I’ll be much happier and much less neurotic if I remember that.

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