By DawnMarie Otto Hayes, Director of Operations
There is no better story to describe my experience of “The Beloved Community” than the following:
“My dad has bees. Today I went to his house and he showed me all of the honey he had gotten from the hives. He took the lid off of a 5-gallon bucket full of honey and on top of the honey there were three little bees, struggling. They were covered in sticky honey and drowning. I asked him if we could help them and he said he was sure they wouldn’t survive. Casualties of honey collection I suppose.
I asked him again if we could at least get them out and kill them quickly, after all he was the one who taught me to put a suffering animal (or bug) out of its misery. He finally conceded and scooped the bees out of the bucket. He put them in an empty Chobani yogurt container and put the plastic container outside.
Because he had disrupted the hive with the earlier honey collection, there were bees flying all over outside.
We put the three little bees in the container on a bench and left them to their fate. My dad called me out a little while later to show me what was happening. These three little bees were surrounded by all of their sisters (all of the bees are females) and they were cleaning the sticky nearly dead bees, helping them to get all of the honey off of their bodies. We came back a short time later and there was only one little bee left in the container. She was still being tended to by her sisters.
When it was time for me to leave, we checked one last time and all three of the bees had been cleaned off enough to fly away and the container was empty.
Those three little bees lived because they were surrounded by family and friends who would not give up on them, family and friends who refused to let them drown in their own stickiness and resolved to help until the last little bee could be set free.
Bee Sisters. Bee Peers. Bee Teammates.
We could all learn a thing or two from these bees.
Bee kind always.”
~ author unknown
When I think of “The Beloved Community” I think of all the women who rallied around me these past years, lifting me up and tending to the stickiness of life that surrounded me, breaking me and drowning me. It was relentless work at times to continue supporting me as I struggled to free myself from depression. The thing about “The Beloved Community” is that it does not give up on you. It counters each piece of stickiness with more love, more patience and more determination to find just the right way to walk beside you, to address the need at hand, to clean the stickiness away.
WE are the beloved community when we see someone hurting, struggling, and we stop to tend to them. Whether we give a shoulder to cry on, a meal to stay hunger, a safe place to be, or any other myriad ways of removing the stickiness of life that many of us find ourselves struggling to get free, we are being The Beloved Community.
When I think of the bees I think of Love and Kindness. That is all it really takes folks. Love and Kindness. Embrace it. Embody it. Spread it. Love and Kindness.
I have seen Love and Kindness at work in Our Presbytery. Your Presbytery is “The Beloved Community.”
Knox Presbyterian Church has called upon us all to assist as IHN gets underway again. This summer they are hosting IHN. Yes, the whole summer!
Third Way Peace Fellowship (Our New Worshipping Community) in Northside provides a safe place for those who need it to hang out and get a warm meal, through “The Open Door.” They are working on a “Free Fridge” and expanding services to those struggling with home security, food security, and job security.
Wyoming Youth, in partnership with Third Way Peace Fellowship are hosting the “Learning to Love: Listening & Serving Together” event for Middle School Students.
The Presbytery’s Racial Equity and Multicultural Justice Network (REMJN) is providing ways for us to network, listen, share and walk alongside each other as we look at being intentional in inclusiveness and loving each other as Christ’s Life shows us.
I am sure if we take a closer look at each one of our church communities, we will see many more ways God is creating “The Beloved Community.”
Please send me an email telling me how your community is being “The Beloved Community.” And as always, tell me what “The Beloved Community” means to you.