Life in the Hive | Gold Hexagon Lariat Necklace | Dainty Jewelry, Mishawaka, IN | Tara Barletto | Honey Shea Studios
In a world where we see everyone’s highlights, other people’s gifts can look more attractive than ours; we find ourselves comparing, measuring ourselves against who or what we think people are, piecing them (and ourselves, honestly) together whichever way makes most sense to us, leaving it easy to lose sight of the roles we play, and the purpose for which we have been created.
On and off for four years now, my husband Vince has kept bees. What intrigues me about bees is that they all have different roles in the hive, yet they each have great purpose. They aren’t competing with one another–they are working alongside one another. In the process of embracing their purpose and the role for which they were created, bees help supply food for mankind and a food that sustains the hive: honey (which, by the way, never goes bad).
Beekeeper is just one role in my husband’s life at which he excels. Experienced winemaker, skilled engineer, passionate community advocate, and loving father and husband are a few other things I could say about him. He makes a killer spaghetti and meatballs, and his favorite color is green–a fact I mention to illustrate his decisiveness. Vince is a man with clear direction and purpose–just like the bees he keeps. Unlike Vince and the bees, my life has often felt messy, and I have lacked clear direction. I am a high school graduate with some college courses under my belt. Some people just know that they want to be a doctor, teacher, pilot, and the list goes on. Then there are people like me–someone without any clue what she wanted to be. I have never known what I wanted to be when I “grew up” besides being a mother –except for a television anchor when I was in high school. Truth is, I felt like I was at a place in life where I needed to pick something. I liked the idea of it more than the reality of whether or not I would enjoy it. Beyond lacking direction in terms of a career choice, I feel passionate about so many things that pinpointing just a few hobbies has, at times, felt impossible. Don’t even get me started on the simple question of my favorite color. Depending on which season it is when you ask, my answer will vary between the color spectrum of a rainbow and white. I can tell you that throughout all seasons of my life, I have gained many things I have taken forward with me, giving me more direction as to where I will go next, but figuring out life still eludes me. I have won some awards, and have many accomplishments of which I am proud, but those things do not define my worth. I have also found firm, beautiful, purpose in my role as a wife and mom, but there are days when being a wife and mom is hard. Some days feel so full of misses, that I can end up feeling defeated even amid great purpose. I am learning, though, that life is more about the journey than it is about the destination and figuring it all out; it is about learning to look through the lens of how God made me instead of viewing myself through the world’s version of how success looks–something I must manage daily.
While I admire my husband’s experience, and others like him, it doesn’t mean that my journey equates to being lost, and his to being found, or vice versa. He and I both agree to the fact that our differences compliment one another, and neither of us have it figured out. Personally, I do not think anyone does, and maybe we aren’t supposed to. We definitely become wiser along the way, but life has a funny way of re-teaching us new lessons in the things we thought we already knew. I think it is easy to doubt our role–the way we were made–by becoming impatient in the journey, and putting pressure on ourselves to have it all together, therefore allowing room for comparisons, leaving one to dismiss their true meaning by getting caught up in what the world tells us success should look like. Perhaps we are too hard on ourselves, and success doesn’t lie so much in titles, awards, accomplishments, and the destination, as much as it does in the ups and downs during the journey. Obviously, we should always set goals, and the things we gain along the way should be celebrated. They are bonuses that give motivation to keep going, but giving more focus to the destination than being in the moment causes us to forget how beautiful the journey really is. The journey is where we learn the most valuable things about who we are or where we want to go next. I truly believe the most important things we will come to know about ourselves will not be found in the comfort of success. Rather, I believe they will be found on the path to the destination, and how we choose to pollinate the world–and the people around us–with love and kindness while living out our roles.
My current season of life has me reading the same story to my kids for the tenth time, fetching that fifth cup of water at bedtime, lying down with my girls until they fall asleep most nights, packing lunches, never ending dishes and laundry, the list goes on. The meaning in all those things is just as important as the doctor who saves lives, the teachers who diligently teach our children, and the pilots who fly people around the world. All roles are significant, and God has a purpose for each of us. During each season of life, our roles can change or look different, but purpose is a daily thing in the midst of those roles. Choosing to pollinate lives daily with love and kindness, coming alongside one another, and choosing to embrace our struggles–these are things of which we are all capable. Choices that will always take us where we are meant to be, and unbeknownst to us, we will in turn be giving life to someone else–just in the same way bees give life to us by pollinating food for us to eat, that is where true purpose and success will be found. Titles may change, roles will fade, but love is the human equivalent to honey. And like God’s love for us, it is everlasting.
Never underestimate the power of the journey.