Sunday, February 6, 2011


This photo I took while on my trip to Israel last March.  I was visiting the site of old Caesarea on the Mediterranean coastline.  Amid the ancient structures of this city where Paul the Apostle was a prisoner, judged and then sent to Rome, I found several flower gardens.  There I found what I was later informed was a Bergeranthus scapiger, one of the many kinds of stalkless mesembryanthemums, succulent flowering plants that do well in that climate. (I did think it interesting that my last name appeared in the middle of the latter term.) As I walked this particular bloom caught my eye, and I had a opportunity to capture this Israeli BEE at his appointed task.

Now, Shakespeare’s Hamlet soliloquy did not have the insect in mind when he penned those famous words “To be or not to be”, but perhaps the BE he referred to can be seen in the very existence of the tiny BEE itself.  I confess that the picture I have used was taken, not to illustrate my thoughts in this blog per say, however, it serves to launch them, nevertheless.

Actually the BEE itself reminds me of the Bee Movie that I watched a while back.  Let me give you a brief synopsis of the storyline.  Barry, a young bee of the in-hive working class, having graduated from college, now considers his options.  Against his traditional parents, his dream is bigger than even his physical attributes would allow, and he sets out to discover where he belongs and where he can make a difference.  In short, he leaves the hive, encounters the taboo world of interacting with people, and discovers that humans have been stealing bee honey for ages without any payment considerations. Drawing upon his education, he sues humanity for damages and wins for the bees a monopoly on their product.  The results: the stock of honey grows to the point that the bees retire.  This creates a world that speedily loses its agricultural reproductive cycle and comes to the edge of ruin.  Barry, who’s earlier victory for the bees precipitated the collapse, now turns his attention to reclaiming what he has learned is the truth about how the world must operate and his BEE-part within it.  Together, a cooperative of human and bee “being” is re-established and the world is saved.  Finally, Barry discovers his new role of being a part of the army of necture gatherers.

Now, the application from this “B-movie” and my “B-photo”: Shakespeare’s quote almost fits the typical teenage mindset today. 

To be, or not to be, that is the question:
Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,
Or to take arms against a sea of troubles
And by opposing end them…”

Like Barry the Bee, the matter of BEEING or BEING to not only the young but young at heart is a question that is troubling.  Strong emotions push beyond patient waiting to consider one’s true identity and place of worth upon this complex factory called Earth.  Considering why we were made falls in sad second place to the more exciting draw of myriads of DOING choices, and the even more tempting HAVING ever more of the tangible stuff that causes the eyes to sparkle with want.

Unsatisfied with BEING A BEE, Barry wanted the experiences of spreading his wings before he even realized why he had them.  His journey led him to things he found pleasurable and through these he came to some wrong conclusions about what his life was all about.  True enough, he thought there was injustice regarding the ownership of the honey and tried to brave the system to correct it, but in so doing almost destroyed the very thing that gave his fellow bees their purpose for BEING and ultimately, their DOING, as well.

In your hast to push the experience and possession envelope a little farther, have you sometimes failed to weigh the primary matter of who you are and how that impacts your world for good or bad?  I call that “getting the cart before the horse”, to coin an oft’ quoted phrase.  Take Barry, for instance.  He is a BEE who’s BEING is BEEING.  He is part of a cycle of life that produces honey in such abundance that it is more than the bees themselves could ever use.  It becomes the delightful sweet of life – even a healthy one at that – that feeds man and beasts like the relatives of Yogi Bear.  And in the process of performing that sacrificial act of service, the pollination of the world’s vegetation keeps the whole system in order.  That’s BEING to be proud of with DOING that grows out of it, not the other way around.

Another thought surfaced for me from the “Bee Movie” before I sum up and close this blog.  Barry’s search in the movie writer’s mind seems to have begun with a dream to do something different.  Nothing wrong with dreaming.  For many it is the impetus for pursuing excellence.  Let me borrow another phrase from Shakespeare’s Hamlet, just a few lines down from the quote’s beginning.

“To die: to sleep;
No more; and by a sleep to say we end
The heart-ache and the thousand natural shocks
That flesh is heir to, 'tis a consummation
Devoutly to be wish'd. To die, to sleep;
To sleep: perchance to dream: ay, there's the rub;
For in that sleep of death what dreams may come
When we have shuffled off this mortal coil,
Must give us pause: there's the respect
That makes calamity of so long life…”

In Barry’s mind he saw an unfulfilled dream wasted on an “eight-to-five” factory job that he was “promised” that he would have for the rest of his life.  That flies in the face of everyman’s dream.  Stuck without a way to grow does not appeal to anyone I’ve met.  I empathize with Barry, however, the difference in his dream’s perception is not understanding that even an “eight-to-five” BEE can find fulfillment DOING what his BEING says is right and makes a difference in the world.

On the matter of BEING, consider Shakespeare’s lines which refer to death as an end to the heartaches of searching for purposeful life.  He refers to death as sleep, and in that sleep, “perchance to dream”, and dreams, the state of BEING in the afterlife.  Indeed, it should make us “pause”.  Truly for the Christian life is to BE first a matter of BEING, with DOING as a very real overflow of who we have discovered ourselves to BE.  In this way, our future life with the One Who Created us in His image will reflect more of Who He IS than what we have DONE to make ourselves worthy. 

Paul gives us a further word of BEING challenge in Philippians 2:5 when he wrote “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus.”  Oh, how much better our lives would be DOING if our minds would BE so indwelt!

BE encouraged, my friends.  TO BE IS THE ANSWER!


Amber said...

Always have loved that movie!

Great words, Dad!! I really appreciate them!

Love you.

Ray Edwards said...

Broco, Pardon the pun, but I have always shyed away from most "B" movies. They usually are done on a shoe string (no comment please!) and the acting and dialogue leave much to be desired. But this Bee movie rates a "A" on my scale. I wonder if the writers, actors, artists and others who had charge of putting this movie together went through the logical chain of thought that you did? Probably not, at least to the same degree. But a movie like the "Bee" movie or simply a "B" movie can often be the catalyst for some great some great application. I wonder what Shakespear would have thought about the movie? Great Blog.