I’ve been watching a bumblebee on the hosta outside my office window for about an hour now. She is really a fascinating worker! The hosta has lots of lavender, trumpet-shaped flowers on each stem and My Lady Bumblebee has been in and out of almost every bloom that is open. Sometimes she crawls in and then backs right out, her corbiculae (or “pollen baskets”) the same size. Other times she stays for only a few seconds, then flies off to the next flower, only slightly enhanced in the pollen basket department. Sometimes, though, she clearly finds a treasure trove of pollen and stays inside the blossom for quite some time, her little black bottom shaking so energetically that the entire stem bounces and sways and the middle-C pitch of her “buzz pollination” can be heard. When she finally emerges, the pollen baskets are noticeably fuller and she will have left some of the previously-collected pollen behind.
I admire how hard our little bee is working at her job; there is a lot to learn from her style. She clearly gives it her all, undistracted by the various other insects flitting around the same plant, or even the comparatively giant human peering at her from a nearby bench. But she is wise, too—she doesn’t hang around the empty blossoms at all. She checks them out, but doesn’t waste time once it is clear there is nothing for her there. The blooms that have only a little pollen get more of her time and attention, but those visits, too, are brief. It’s not until she finds a flower with a lot of pollen that she snuggles inside, gathering every bit that she can before moving on. I haven’t seen her rest yet, but soon enough her pollen baskets will be full and she will head for her hive to be cleaned of her pollen by the male worker bees, who will store the pollen as food for the next generation of bumblebees. Then she will take a rest before her next “shift” in the flower beds.
As I have recently moved from being a nursing home chaplain to once again pastoring a congregation, I have had to learn the lesson of my little bee friend. As much as I loved the people where I was, I had to realize it was time to move on to the next flower. Knowing the right time to move on was a difficult decision. All I can do is pray that as I worked among those people, I pollinated them with the faith, hope, and love I found among them. As I arrive at this new congregation, I pray that I will be able to share the same with them. In the end, making the right move for myself may turn out to be the right move for everyone else, too. Like the bees and the plants they pollinate, may we all be healthier for it.