The last weekend in May has always been touted as the celebration of life. In the USA, we honor our fallen war veterans through Memorial Day and reflect on how the soldiers gave their lives for their country, regardless of when and where they fought. While we do not have such a celebration in Germany, we do take some time off from our work and celebrate Pentecost, a religious holiday commemorating the rise of Jesus Christ and his journey to heaven and where we reflect on how He has influenced our lives through faith and love. Like Memorial Day, we have Mondays free, as well as some Tuesdays for companies that allow it.
This Pentecost weekend was a rather special one for me and my family, as we enjoyed a picnic in the breezy spring sun and took advantage of what nature brought us and spent it in the wilderness. After all, the forest was only a few minutes away from our home by foot going up the hill in the Thuringian Forest. It was also a special moment for one particular bee, who had a moment of resurrection, right before my eyes.
While we were taking photos, I noticed a thick black object on the tip of one of the weeds not far from our picnic spot. Taking a closer look at it, it was a large Bumblebee who was collecting pollen for himself and his colony from this particular weed, only to find that despite the breeze- which would normally shoo him off the weed and away from the field, he stood still, not moving at all. Even when I brought the weed up close to the camera, he appeared lifeless, as if a certain poison from the pollen sucked the tiny bit of life out of him. Even his eyes appeared closed and still creating an impression that he was no longer living.
After I had stopped taking photos of the “dead” bee, I turned away for a few seconds only to find that when I returned to the spot, the first signs of life came back into the bee. It came back to life as if he reanimated himself and pretended that this stillness, this frozen moment in time had never taken place. After spending a few more minutes collecting the pollen he needed, he left to find some more pollen to collect, but he left an impression worth remembering.
When I think of this event, I remember the readings of the Bible, where Jesus brought Lazarus back to life after he was in still state for four days. For more on that, please refer to the Gospel of John 11:1-46 and 12:9-12. Many thought that Lazarus could not come back to life, until Jesus proved them wrong. In scientific terms I remember my science teachers talking about how many amphibians would freeze in the winter time, only to reanimate themselves in the spring time to resume their livelihoods.
But the event did present an even truer meaning as far as our lives are concerned. In our society, we manage to go through life as if it was a throw-away society. We try one thing, realize that it is not our cup of tea and therefore, we throw it away for something new. This not only applies to careers- after all it is understandable if we change careers at least three times in our lifetimes. It is universal. We change partners in a short time, we change places and go where the jobs are, and we even change our hobbies- ditching one hobby we had for many years for something new. We sometimes do too many things all at once. Yet little do we realize is that we never really have a chance to get to know ourselves and find out what we are really good at. And when we find out some of the strong points we are really good at, we do not exploit it properly. Instead of being the best in what we do, we strive for money, power and recognition. We ignore who we are and become machines destined for disaster. When we fail in what we do, we give up, instead of trying again. When we make mistakes, we keep moving instead of reflecting on the mistakes and finding ways to avoid them. And in the end, when things really go downhill, we leave everything for dead instead of resuscitating them, starting over and climbing back to the top again. Many of us have become the nomads of the 21st Century.
We all have our flaws and memories worth forgetting. But we also know that we are here for a reason, which is to provide others with our own natural talents and make them happy. There are some experiments we try and fail and let go. It is all part of life. But the most important is to try and determine which aspects of life really belong to us and that we should develop, and which ones are worth leaving behind. It is very difficult to achieve this but when it is done, we will not be considered by others as “dead to society-“ a pile of scrap heap that can be disposed of and incinerated. Instead we will be considered by others as useful because we know who we are, where we belong to, and who we should spend our lives with.
And even if things are very bleak and that our lives are considered nothing- we have been through all that at least a couple times in our lives- if we learn about ourselves and love ourselves for who we are, we too can come back to life to make a difference. It is never too late to change but only based on our natural instincts and not that of others. Our bee, whom I named Lazarus, reminded me of this as he “came to the living” after a long rest on a sunny day in the fields, making our Pentecost one to remember. I hope that others can learn from this experience too and find out more about themselves.