We have a huge basil plant in front of our house. What started as an easy means for bruschetta on a whim has turned into an unruly bush. A bush that I have asked to be uprooted many times. A bush that I have replaced (though Matt has yet to remove it from the yard) with a smaller, prettier variety. If you like herbs, and I do, it smells wonderful. If you hate bees, and I do, it can cause going out to water the plants or checking on the kids to turn to a nightmare. The bees love the basil. My kids love the bees.
“The kids don’t have a healthy fear of bees,” I said to Matt the other day.
“And by healthy, do you mean they ought to run away screaming with their hands in the air every time they see a bee?” (insert sarcasm) This from the man who once pinched multiple bees between his fingers rather than leave his bee infested deer blind, lest he frighten away the deer that never appeared that morning. My Texan husband.
Um … yeah. Obviously.
I had put this conversation out of my mind until yesterday, when Lucas came into my kitchen holding a bee by the wing. We chose the color called “sanctuary” for our kitchen walls, but in that moment I found little refuge in that room. I shooed him out and simply requested that the bees stay outside (and by simply, I mean I frantically listed all the reasons why bees should not be inside, as he calmly listened while holding the bee).
For the next hour, the kids played with the bees, making little habitats for them and observing them. I was making dinner when Nicholas, my sweet two year old, came in with his hands cupped around something I assumed to be a flower, as he loves to make Mama smile. When I asked if I could see what he was holding he proudly showed me his little friend, who had been squished between his loving hands.
I remembered that song that I sang as a little girl, laughingly, because who would ever be brave enough to actually bring home a baby bumble bee, and yet he did.
I should mention that all three of the older children have been stung by bees in the past, but it obviously wasn’t significant enough for them to give up playing with them.
I have always been a fearful person, and I do not want this to be my kids’ reality. I love their innocence. I love their trust. I love that other than being scared of The Cat in the Hat, they are rather fearless.
I am learning to temper my responses to their exploration of the world around them. It sometimes does end in an injury, but I would rather have them taste and see that the world was wondrously created; to know what their little bodies can do, even if falls happen; to feel like they can do great things, rather than be crippled by fear.
I’m learning from them. I am learning that respect is necessary, but fear is not. It is no wonder that as a fearful person, it is difficult for me to trust. My trust in the Lord continually increases, because He has proven ever faithful, but I envy my children because they’ve never been burned … never really even been let down. And so they trust.
But Jesus called the children to him and said,
“Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them,
for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.
Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God
like a little child will never enter it.”
And as I watch my children trust, this makes sense to me. As they trust that the bees are worthy playmates, so they trust that Jesus is who He said He was.
In the same way, I never had to earn my kids’ trust. From the moment they were born, I was comforter, nourisher, safe place. When I think of how much I love my children and how much they trust me, I wonder at how great the Father’s love is for me … how He is for me, and no matter what circumstances I find myself in, I can trust Him.