Beehive in my heart

Last night, as I was sleeping,
I dreamt - marvellous error! -
that I had a beehive
here inside my heart.
And the golden bees
were making white combs
and sweet honey
from my old failures.

by Antonio Machado, Times Alone

Benedictine spirituality blessed me with a way of prayer that has become a way of listening and reading for me. It's called lectio divina, or divine reading, sometimes called holy listening, usually applied to the Holy Bible. But after practicing for so long, it has become lectio on life. That life is holy and everything I see is an embodiment of God's love for us.

So Mr Machado's poem inevitably brought me to lectio mode. In lectio, one keeps watch for a word or phrase that 'shimmers', that calls your attention. 'Beehive here inside my heart' was that phrase for me tonight. I visualize it. I see and hear busyness in my heart. The buzzing of the bees makes it difficult for me to discern what my heart is really saying to me. It was like having tinnitus in the ear of my heart... There's the marketing of my prayer book. There's missing my anam cara's poems and singing. There's Ronna's impending death. There's my observance of Lent. There's anger at the greed and the suffering it caused all over the world and my impotence to help those in pain. There's the delight in being alone, in prayer, in meditation. Busy indeed. 

So I do some heart-opening poses to be with my heart. Then I sit with the Divine Presence. After a few deep breaths, I settle in. My shoulders move down away from the ears, my palms relax toward the pads of my fingertips. My spine straight but rising like a palm tree from the sacrum. After a few minutes of observing the grounding effect of the outbreaths and holding it for a while, my tears decide to flow. I let it flow for a while. And I sat there, delighting in the sitting in the presence of the Divine. I give thanks.

I read the poem again, and this time, what caught my eyes is the phrase 'And the golden bees are making white combs and sweet honey from my old failures.' I smile. Because I have made so many mistakes. Some in the long past. Some recently. Some just a few days ago. That is why my bees are busy. 

It also reminds me of a passage in Psalm 30 -

You have turned my mourning into dancing;
You have taken my sackcloth and clothed me with joy,
so that my soul may praise you and not be silent.
O Lord my God, I will give thanks to you for ever.

Amen. Amen. Amen.

1 comment:


I think it's good to remember the bees taking the white comb and making honey from one's past failures - a beautiful poem and awakening!