Good News Bees

by Travis

When I was a youth I remember visiting my grandparents near Wiergate, Texas, positioned East of the Sam Rayburn Dam and Southwest the Toledo Bend Reservoir.  Some of you know exactly where this is, but most people have no idea what any of that means at all.  Suffice it to say, the setting is purposefully rural and removed from any uncivilized “civilization.”

It was here I got to experience some of the things unavailable “in town.”  As a family, we would venture here to so the brothers could do such things as explore the woods, drive go-karts, shoot skeet, and eat wonderful food that seemed to never end.  It was here that I learned to push outside my comfort zone.  It was here that I actively learned.

As a juvenile (delinquent), during the summers, I learned to help my grandfather in his shop and around the yard, with tasks quickly consuming a full day’s work.  As a married adult, I learned to sit with my grandparents over endless cups of coffee to simply talk, ask questions, and wonder at worlds gone by; consider that my grandfather had his first car at age nine, and two by age thirteen… in Downtown Houston.  Sometimes we would all sit up talking until the wee hours of the morning.  My wife has proven to be the granddaughter my grandparents never had; now it seems they want to talk to her on the phone more than to me.  It’s hard to explain, but for me, this is pure bliss.

I learned many incredible things as a youth at my grandparents.  One was a life lesson wrapped in a bit of Appalachian folklore regarding “Good News Bees.”  If you have any relation to the South, you’ve probably heard this story before.  I remember learning this from my grandmother, whom we all call Mamaw.

It must have been Spring Break, as all the flowering bushes were in full bloom, but in Wiergate, Spring feels like Summer.  Near the bushes, what I thought was a bee swarmed in front of my face.  I retracted, fearing the sting.  Walking behind me, Mamaw said, “Those are Good News Bees!  They won’t hurt you.”  I asked what that meant, and she said, “Good News Bees don’t sting; they just come close to look at you and tell you the ‘Good News.’”  Mamaw is strong, and I knew she didn’t want me to be afraid, but I also knew she wouldn’t lead me astray, so I fully trusted her and let go of my fear.

Turns out, this particular “Bee” is a “Yellowjacket Hover Fly,” which does not sting.  In all actuality, the “Bee” hovers in front of you trying to determine whether your face is a flower, as it is a nectar feeder.  Nevertheless, I learned not to panic, or even try to swat the “Bee,” because it would not hurt me.  Instead, I learned to stop and watch it in its habitat.

For a young boy, this was empowering.  Since Mamaw taught me of the Good News Bee, as an adult, I really don’t fear bees at all.  This is a trait that has haphazardly been passed onto my own son, who loves to watch bees swarm in our yard; bees are the first thing he looks for out the window in the morning.  I find great joy walking outside with my two-year old, without fear, to look at bees swarming the flowers.

I hope that, inherently, my Mamaw’s strength has been passed down to us all.  I also hope now we can all return the favor.  We have recently gotten some Bad News regarding her health, and I hope the story of the Good News Bees can remind us that, in the face of danger, not to panic; instead, we must trust in the Lord, the bearer of Good News, that after this is over, nothing can hurt us anymore.

“But the angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people.’” ~ Luke 2:10

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