Bees and the Spirituality of Imperfect

by Hilary Horn

Today is Honey Bee Awareness Day! Enjoy this beautiful post by Jan Blencowe

This month’s theme, the Spirituality of Imperfect, triggered some discomfort around the prospect of writing about “the imperfect” parts of life, self, and spirituality.

Then there was the curious notion of imperfect actually being spiritual. Perhaps it would be something like the Japanese concept of wabi-sabi, a world view centered on the acceptance of transience and imperfection.

Today is also “honey bee awareness day” and somehow those two things, honey bees and the Spirituality of Imperfect needed to be brought together and produce a pearl of spiritual insight.

There’s a reason we need to have honey bee awareness day. It’s because bees are in trouble. They’re dying from a number of interrelated causes, and we are responsible for the two most destructive factors, pesticides and habitat loss. The way we live on this planet is highly imperfect when it comes to balancing our short term needs (and wants) and making ecologically sound decisions that support both the natural world and humanity’s long term needs, such as sustainable and reliable food sources. Seventy out of the top one hundred human food crops are pollinated by bees. These crops supply about ninety percent of the worlds nutrition. The loss of bees is not only a tragedy but it puts our own survival at risk as well.

A Spirituality of Imperfect brings to mind the triple graces, forgiveness, restoration and unity. These three powerful energies are able to work on behalf of imperfection to create something beautiful. Since my own spirituality will always be imperfect that’s reassuring.

Something imperfect is generally thought of as blemished, marred, tainted, stained, broken, bent, twisted, ruined, or lacking. Imperfect is always what my own spirituality will be in and of itself. However, when grafted into the True Vine, my own spiritual life will have infinitely more love and goodness in it for being permanently united to the Perfect Source.

It’s that union that allows forgiveness and restoration to be graciously and abundantly poured into my soul. I am still imperfect, but now I have access to what is perfect.

These three remedies of forgiveness, restoration and unity inspire me to see my own imperfect spirituality as forgiven, restored and in unity with the Divine. In fact it’s my own imperfect spiritual ways that create the unique need for a spirituality of imperfect and allows for the experience of grace, applied in such a way as to make room for imperfect, to become part of my very imperfect human life.

But what about the bees? Here’s where having a spirituality of imperfect allows for practical, positive, forward movement in my life.

Eight years ago we bought a beautiful piece of property to build a house on. Someplace to live is a legitimate need, yet the destruction necessary to clear the land, blast the ledge and level a hill was enormous. It’s imperfect to have to cause such destruction to build a home. In this imperfect situation I felt the need to ask forgiveness for the destruction and offer gratitude for the land. That’s what we human beings have been doing for millenia. In fact it is the basis for most religious systems going back into the mists of time. Our ancestors felt compelled to offer gratitude for the animals and plants that provided them with their basic needs, and to ask forgiveness for having to take the lives of animals and plants in order to live. Ceremonies, temples, altars, and rituals around this theme are common in the spiritual lives of our ancestors across the globe. We must eat and we must have clothing and shelter and other living beings must be killed in order to provide that for us. That seems an imperfect way of existing. A spirituality of imperfect requires a spirituality of grace to make it work.

After our home was built and I had a chance to assess the property in its state of shock and trauma from the destruction of being cleared, I entered into a sacred contract of restoration and unity with the land. As restoration and unity had been poured into my soul, I would pour restoration and unity into my land.

It was then I made a commitment to replant my land for pollinators, especially bees specifically because of the dangers they face today. Native plants and trees were planted in abundance. Shrubs and perennials as nectar sources were chosen and sited in especially appealing locations for the bees. Of course not only the bees benefited, many other pollinators, butterflies, moths, birds and animals have formed a robust, healthy, unified community on our land. The unity of community includes myself. I feel so much a part of the land and its trees, bees, birds and animals. That sense of unity extends even further into the Divine Life that sustains us all. When I am wandering through my gardens and woods I experience that unity in deep and restorative ways.

The imperfect met by the grace of forgiveness, restoration and unity, and a spirituality of imperfect embraced by a spirituality of grace has the power to move me through the imperfections in life and in my soul to an understanding that sees a greater plan of love and healing at work.

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