Jesus Follower | Word Stringer | Avocado Eater

In the Eye of the Swarm

 

They come in near silence, minding their business and ready to work. They never need blueprints, complain of the load or ask for time off. Their days are long and full of physical labor. They don’t work for the weekend; the word itself does not exist in their world.

They are not lazy, selfish or greedy. They toil as a team with their boss in mind; everything exists for her.

But amidst their fantastic attributes, they are squatters by nature. They move in without asking, build without permits, and defend their stolen property with a vengeance.

So who do you call when they join forces, come out swinging, and threaten your offspring?

The local volunteer firemen, of course.

I didn’t know their phone number so I jumped in the car and drove the four blocks to find them in person. The beauty of the Spanish language clearly eluded me as I blurted out our problem.

“Hola. Tenemos abejas.”

“Okay, we’ll be there around 6:00. They’re calmer at dusk.”

I’m calmer at dusk, too, but that doesn’t mean I wouldn’t put up a fight if you tried to tear down my house.

The old, faded, donated firetruck pulled up in front of our house close to 7:00, and three men jumped down. On went their dingy, yellow suits, mesh hats, and thick gloves, and out came the duct tape.

Hmm… wonder what that’s for. 

For necks, stomachs, wrists and ankles, that’s what. They wrapped each other for war, grabbed their short ladder and endured our stares while I tapped my phone like a new member of the local paparazzi.

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Then I pointed them to the cubby hole.

“Is it okay if we pull off this piece of wood by your roof?”

“Yes! Whatever you need.”

My visiting father-in-law chuckled. “Do you feel a blog post coming on?”

“Umm, yes.”

I held my phone up and timidly asked fireman #1 to do me a favor.

“Puede tomar una foto por favor?”

He took it, stretched his arm deep into the side of our house and pointed at the party. One flash problem and three clicks later, I held a perfect view of their nest.

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There it sat—the most beautiful clump of honey-makers I’ve ever had that close to my kitchen. They calmly rested on top of each other, clocked out and settled in for the night, clueless about our impending relocation program.

The firemen worked with gentle efficiency while they reached, scooped, and plopped the intruders into a wooden box, sliding the lid open and closed with each deposit. Most of the look-alikes clung together, but some freaked out and swarmed our duct-taped heroes.

In the middle of their chaos, their queen stayed protected. No doubt aware something changed, I wonder if she feared sudden death.

Were there tiny warning sounds in the center of the clump?

Did she panic?

Did she fear her community would leave her?

Did she contemplate ditching the safety of the group to save herself?

 

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The bees are gone, but now changes are happening inside our house.

For those of you who receive our ministry’s monthly newsletter, you probably saw the October Update on Friday about closing our store. We’ve known changes were coming, but not to this degree. The “warning sounds” a year ago weren’t strong enough to make us stop the rich ministry taking place.

Our family sits calm. Not on top of each other, but fairly clueless about our impending relocation program. We’re not panicking, and we’re not contemplating ditching the safety of God’s palm to save ourselves.

Instead we pray and wait. Pray and wait. Pray and wait. That doesn’t mean doubts don’t occasionally creep in or impatience doesn’t start to rise though. We’re human.

We strive to move past the insecurity and focus on three key words:

Faith: It takes over when confusion sets in.

Trust: It moves forward when options appear.

Peace: It rises high when chaos surrounds.

And we don’t dare pass over those words like a cute little list. They’re what we hold onto. They’re what we pray for, ask our kids about, and space out on.

One of the books I’m in the middle of digesting is Ruthless Trust by Brennan Manning. It’s heady and sometimes confusing, but littered with wisdom. In it he tells a short, compelling story with Mother Teresa:

When the brilliant ethicist John Kavanaugh went to work for three months at “the house of the dying” in Calcutta, he was seeking a clear answer as to how best to spend the rest of his life. On the first morning there he met Mother Teresa. She asked, “And what can I do for you?” Kavanaugh asked her to pray for him.

“What do you want me to pray for?” she asked. He voiced the request that he had borne thousands of miles from the U.S.: “Pray that I have clarity.”

She said firmly, “No, I will not do that.” When he asked her why, she said, “Clarity is the last thing you are clinging to and must let go of.” When Kavanaugh commented that she always seemed to have the clarity he longed for, she laughed and said, “I have never had clarity; what I have always had is trust. So I will pray you trust God.”

I love her feisty answer. Can you imagine Mother Teresa refusing to pray for something? Her wisdom strikes a chord.

We are not praying for clarity—God already has it.

He knows who will hire my husband, what we’re going to be doing, when it will happen, where we’ll land, why we need this change, and how He’s going to pull it off.

He knows if we’re leaving or staying, that our kids need a school, if we need continued financial support or not, and how long it will take to donate, sell and pitch our earthly stuff.

If God brings our family to mind and you decide to pray, will you please pray for trust?

We long to sit in the eye of the swarm… calm, content, and full of the word that nudges us to slow down and listen.

trust word in vintage grunge wooden letterpress printing blocks, isolated on white

“I leave God’s secrets to Himself. It is happy for me that God made me of His court, and not of His council.”  ~ Joseph Hall

 

If you are in a time of waiting, what helps you rest in the eye of the swarm?

 

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4 Responses to In the Eye of the Swarm

  1. Might I add one more word?:

    HOPE

    I love the quote, “Hope is always appropriate.” I know you have TRUST up there and these two words link together easily. But Hope seems fitting as you all have continued on in peace. Hope looks forward to whatever plan God has ahead. Hope leaves the door open for all kinds of beautiful possibilities.

    Praying for you all to have HOPE as you wait.

    • Good point, Nicole. I just read this quote this morning in my Brennan Manning book: “Hope + Faith = Trust” Sounds like we’re all the same page. 🙂

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