By Brianna Sutherland
In the spring, countless flowers blossom and thrive, creating living works of art in gardens, fields, and forests around the world. Each bloom stretches toward the sky, alone in its attempt to be the tallest, to rise above and soak in the most sun. But it doesn’t do it alone.
Its symbiotic ally buzzes across the field, scoping out the perfect specimen to feed on. The honey bee is the flower’s partner in crime, caretaker, lover, and friend. It is the only organism that will land gently on the petals and, never harming, harvest the pollen. Without this relationship the flower could not mingle with other flowers and it would be utterly alone in a field of its peers.
This is how relationships should be, each party giving so the other can thrive. More often than not, people see relationships as a way to sustain themselves. They see their friends as a way to inflate their ego, their parents as people to complain to, and their partner as a person to reflect back to them the best parts of themselves. They are not mutually symbiotic like the bee and the flower and culture doesn’t tell us they should be. Culture tells us to take and take from one another, each one trying to fill themselves up with the remnants of the others around them. Culture teaches us to be selfish, but God created the bee and the flower. The bee is fulfilled by spreading the pollen and the flower, by feeding the bee.
In this life there are hundreds of books telling us how to navigate work, family, and relationships. There are methods for reading body language, tone, and facial expressions. Every nuanced situation has a specialist showing us how we need to operate to be successful. First Corinthians says “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.” Is this not all we need to know about love to operate in our relationships? When we say we love someone it’s not just referring to the flutter in our stomach or the blood leaving our heads, it demonstrates a way in which we should treat the person who is receiving our love.
So, look at the bee and the flower. See that they are patient with one another, and gentle. The bee is not angry when the flower dies. It doesn’t blame the flower and it will always come back next year to see if the flower has come to meet it. The flower always waits for the bee when he goes away, never bitter or untrusting. They give to one another, never taking where the other is unwilling. In this, God has shown us how to treat one another and not get caught up in the selfishness of our own desires. Why are we so concerned with how to keep our relationships healthy when it’s written for us and shown to us in every loving natural relationship on earth?
The best day of my life happened just over a week ago. My best friend got down on one knee and asked me to be his wife. Binding yourself to one person for the rest of your life is a scary thing no matter who it is. I wondered how we were going to persevere through the bad times that are inevitably a part of living and how we would treat one another when we made mistakes. It’s easy to be angry and spiteful when something goes wrong. How are we to turn the tide against these feelings? There is no easy answer, but I looked at him and I saw a bee and I’m hoping that he saw a flower.