Flight School

“Flight school is the way in which young bees stretch their wings and orient themselves to the world outside the hive, the place that until that moment, they have only ever lived and worked inside of.  With instinct–and each other–to guide the way, they practice the flight to and from the hive, and learn to locate the hive entrance.  In my garden as I work, I watch them circle the nearby bee yard in their intricate figure-eight patterns, finding their way home.  Alongside my admiration and awe for what they do and how they do it, i can’t help but feel a twinge of jealousy too.  For I wish that my instincts were as strong as theirs, that I knew the way to go, and precisely what to do once I’m there.”  ~Amanda Soule Editor’s Letter Taproot Magazine

We all know that there are guidelines along which we hang our lives.  Some of us search the ever-present wisdom of the word of God, some set out on a quest to find another religion to satisfy, and still others simply rebel and deny the existence of structure altogether.  Yet, intermingled in the depths of character and sanctification, forgiveness and loyalty, we learn there is an entirely different realm which warrants our attention.  It’s that place of necessity, of growing a tomato, changing a diaper, baking bread, checking the oil, learning to read, and starting a fire.  No matter the level of guidelines, we find that there is indeed much room for humility to relearn and the legacy of those who have walked before us.

We watch Jesus as he made his way through the crowds or advanced to the quiet place with the Father.  And we learn to do the same.  This new instinct, betraying the desires of our flesh and perhaps even debunking those traditions of our lineage, we learn to let go and relearn this new way of life.  Our brains were made to do this–to relearn.  We’ve been gifted with specific cells and chemicals to cause us to unlearn and to cause us to relearn!  Our Creator has given us permission to change.

So we learn particular things at particular times which grow and grow to become a lifestyle and a new instinct, a new way of conducting our actions before others and before God.

Some instincts which I recognize taking shape are those in my garden, how to interact with the dear ones with whom I live, how to play with children, how to protect my innocence, how to guard my finances and time, how to open my hands and generously give, how to seek counsel.  Then there was the one I caught in full flight today–the instinct to welcome.

This is an ubiquitous need.  A call from the hidden hearts of the earth to be accepted and loved, delighted in and esteemed with pure and forgiving eyes, perhaps in the same way Jesus did so many years ago, and still does today!  This was my need, understandably unmet by some of those who know me best and some of those who know me a little.  Perhaps it was by the Lord’s hand, that this happened, that he hedged me in with those blessed thorns as described in Hosea!  What a tender Savior to keep me in his grace.

The store was bumbling with people and carts, the concrete floor a rich, vibrant hue of terra cotta, I was cooled by the open cases of fruit and cheese when I stopped to analyze the ingredients, size and prices of a mysterious substance: tofu.  A man stood next to me with his cart and as I offered to share the space before the tofu, we struck up informative conversation to resolve those tofu quandaries.  He called over his partner, who, with more experience on the subject, provided much insight.  These men of homosexuality were to me on this day, a great source of kindness, much contrasted from that attitude I met in my familiar places and in some of those dear familiar, perhaps preoccupied souls, whom I have grown to love.

As I crested the hill into Duluth I cried, out of relief, to be HOME in my current and temporary niche.  Eager to learn.  Eager to grow.  Eager to know my friend, Jesus, more.

“We may not always have a loud and clear instinct to lead the way, but there is no doubt that we are as blessed as the bees in having each other–those that came before us, those that live and walk alongside us, and these young ones in our presence full of wonder.  As we seek each other out, share our knowledge, hone our skills and create space for the brilliance of young and new ideas, we are indeed finding our way right back to that place of instinct.”  Amanda Soule


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