As a hobbyist bee keeper, I was recruited by a friend to remove a hive from the side of a barn this last spring. We were both novices; book smart, but never having extracted an unwanted hive. We hoped to transfer the colony into a new hive box. One man’s nuisance is another man’s resource. If all went well, we would have another honey producing hive. We figured it would take us a couple hours and we arranged to meet mid-morning so we would be done by lunchtime.
As we peeled back a portion of the siding, the hive was exposed - the core of the hive in the center with the queen and her attendants; the storehouses on either side, large swathes of wax cells laden with sweet honey. This was more than we anticipated. Spring is when hives are at their weakest, on the rebound from a punishing winter. But this hive was flourishing. Large portions of honeycomb would have to be removed along with a vast horde of bees. This would take longer than we had anticipated.
We began the delicate process of cutting the comb from the walls of this barn. Those with larva we placed in frames that would become the core of a transplanted hive. Those with honey we piled in bins for later extracting. The day wore on and the lunch hour passed. We were hungry in the heat and tired from the work. Early in the afternoon we took a break in the shade and munched on the snack at hand – abundant, fresh honeycomb. Almost immediately, we were re-energized.
It turns out that honey is like nature’s energy food. Most sweets provide a spike in blood sugar levels followed by a crash, but honey has been found to provide a steady surge of energy. Glucose in the honey is absorbed quickly, easily assimilated into the bloodstream, giving an immediate energy boost. Fructose in the honey is absorbed more slowly providing sustained energy. This combination makes honey a well balanced energy booster.
Solomns relies on the well-known healing property of honey to serve as a metaphor for the power of what we utter. “Pleasant words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones” (Proverbs 16:24). They are a sweet elixir of healing, a punch of vigor for the downhearted. They have the power to encourage, inspire, and motivate. A kind word lingers long in the memory, becoming a source of sustenance and energy.
Surely you have experienced this. A kind word that has lifted your spirit. A commendation that has motivated you to press on, an encouragement that has given you hope.
I had plans for yesterday. I called my wife on my break to fill her in. Stillness on the phone betrayed reluctance. Slowly she explained her hesitancy. She was uncomfortable with my plan. Together we came up with a solution that was more agreeable.
I was working late and arrived home to the stillness of sleep. In the quiet, I saw a scrap of yellow paper on the table by my seat. “Phil – I love you. Thank you so much for changing your plans. That speaks volumes.”
The volumes spoken by my accommodation matched by the volumes spoken in a quick scribble. A taste of honey on my tongue. Appreciation for my sensitivity. Affirmation for my flexibility. A small inconvenience more than compensated for by my wife's gratitude. The power of words, like healing honey.
And to think, your words could unleash that same power. Today.