These bees, which hover around these purple flowers in my backyard, remind me of how simple life is. As these bees collect their pollen and nectar, they simply do what they were designed by nature to do. What were we designed by nature to do? That’s the rub I think. We seem to have multiple natures; like that image of the little devil and the little angel on our shoulders. My nature is to be kind and good, until it feels that it is to be, well… something else – unkind, greedy, resentful – and the list goes on.
Lent is a season in which to ask ourselves what contributes to the little angel and what to the little devil on our shoulders? The question is not “do we have an angel?” or “do we have a demon?” The question is, “which one are we feeding?”
For me, sinning is less a matter of extraordinary naughtiness (sometimes I wish I still had that kind of energy!) and more matter of exhaustion or distraction making it hard for me to see that what I am doing or saying or thinking as “missing the mark” – missing the mark of living in ways in which I know Jesus lived life as a model.
Perhaps sabbath and self-care are as important, or even more important, than abstinence. Perhaps the work we do to be kind to our good selves and gentle with our tender selves is a better contributor to our spiritual wellness and our moral rectitude than the many rules and regulations around which we move in lent like a slalom skier navigating poles on a demanding ski run.
The way these bees float around their source of life is how I want to be with God – attentive, fed, nourished, delighted, attracted by beauty and color. And perhaps I can see those things in God when I take the time I need to stop, rest, think, pray, and take a long look in the mirror saying to myself “You are doing the best you can.”
Lent may not be a season of scolding and accusing – it may be as simple a season as attending to God’s provision and glory, the way these bees attend to this flower.