“Honey.” The word sounds as smooth as the golden liquid actually tastes. Honey spoken as a term of affection can soften the sternest of faces and elevate the most modest of intentions till they reach the throne. Without the nectar of sweetness in our mouths, we would only taste the pungent poison of our words for which there is no antidote. Even bees know this as they spit pollen into each other’s mouths to create honey to feed the hive. Without honey and the bees that produce it, we cannot survive either.
I didn’t harken to this golden rule as I withdrew my arm from the bush with not only hedge clippers in hand, but three yellowjackets embroidering my skin. I felt anger, not gratitude, toward the wasps injecting their venom into my blood. Why did I seem to get stung every time I did a good deed? I just wanted to trim the bushes for my friend, but instead of feeling satisfied with my efforts, I felt frustrated as the nurse dispensed epinephrine by stabbing yet another hole into my throbbing hand.
Yellowjackets weren’t the only stinging insects that I attracted. Bumblebees, mud dabbers, honeybees all seemed to enjoy torturing me whether they simply chased me or whether they actually penetrated my skin with their stinger. It was several years later before I realized the intricate way in which bees play their role in human survival.
Bees are needed to pollinate at least 30 percent of the world’s crops and 90 percent of our wild plants—that is according to the National Resources Defense Council. I didn’t know then that without bees to spread seeds, many plants—including food crops—would die off. I only knew that they interrupted my outdoor activities without fail and when they stung; they hurt.
I was well into my thirties before I realized that some people I permitted to participate in my life were even more toxic than the paralyzing insect stings I’d grown to hate. I’d allowed them to determine my mood, my reactions. Even the words I spoke seemed to be generated by a spiteful troll rather than by me.
I’d fling angry words towards anyone who stung me, only to feel another sting when they boomeranged back to me. I’d tell Dad about the perceived injustice and he would say, “You catch more bees with honey than with vinegar.” I didn’t want to catch any bees let alone say anything nice to the person who seemed determined to make my life miserable.
As I awoke to the law of attraction, I practiced speaking positively rather than allowing negative words to pass through my lips. I studied Queen Ester whose very survival hinged on her ability to harness the power of persuasion and to speak from the heart. I learned honey is bait for bees and kings alike.
Ester sugar-coated the shackles that could’ve been her death sentence as a Jew. Instead of lashing out at Haman who’d convinced the King to kill all Jews, she framed her request for clemency within pleasant perimeters. She discretely arranged dinner with the King and Hayman. She spoke her request humbly and with conviction in justice. Ester’s powerful sweetness saved not only her and her family, but the entire Jewish nation.
Following her example, I’ve saved myself many an outburst that would only return more negativity to me. Each day, I eat my words less and receive positive responses more.
Ester isn’t the only woman who knew the value of smooth talk, Mary Poppins ascribed to the theory that a “Spoonful of sugar makes the medicine go down.” I’ll swallow that concoction anytime rather than the bitter taste of regret and anger that hurts both me and the others in this hive we call Earth. The nectar of the Gods indeed!
Michele Zirkle Marcum is a native of Meigs County, author of “Rain No Evil” and host of Life Speaks on AIR radio. Access more at soundcloud.com\lifespeaks.