Honey

If you’ve never seen a preschooler go from meltdown to mellowed out in 1.2 seconds, you’ve missed out. Most people I tell about my incredible trick for calming Wendy down won’t believe it until they are in the car with us and get a taste of total toddler tantrum. Here’s how it goes: Wendy wants something. She doesn’t get it (probably because she dropped it under my seat and I can’t reach it). She starts to whine. Still no toy. She begins to cry. I still can’t reach it. She wails. Real tears plop out onto her chubby cheeks and then roll like the giant boulder in Raiders of the Lost Ark, down her face.

That’s when I pull out the heavy hitter of conniption suppressant: The O Brother, Where Art Thou soundtrack. I quickly advance to “Go to Sleep Little Baby” and by the time the Sirens get to “honey in the rock and the sugar don’t stop…” Wendy has been lulled into a contented state. It’s just that fast. I have read studies that suggest that songs the mother sang while the child was in the womb can calm children through their formative years. I certainly sang that one while her ears were developing, so, maybe that has something to do with it.

She can also achieve tot-nirvana by singing to herself. Lately, she and Mia have been singing American Honey by Lady Antebellum non-stop. It’s the story of a sweet little girl who grew up in a sweet little town and wants to recapture the sweet innocence of youth. It’s really a great song. I get teary-eyed and wistful, though, thinking that at 5 and 2, they are already singing a song about a longing to return to a simpler time and reclaim a long-lost purity.

The imagery of the song is powerful. Honey. I put honey in my tea every morning. That’s the only way to drink black tea, in my opinion. What a valuable commodity honey is! The Hebrews called the Promised Land “a land flowing with milk and honey,” according to one source I read, they called it that 21 times. In Samuel 14, it talks about how wild honeycomb was so plentiful, that it littered the ground. Honey is the condiment of excess (think about it, you’ve never heard of ketchup as “one of the principal things for use in man’s life” like Ecclesiastes says about honey, and when was the last time you thought to offer mayonaise as a gift?) Honey means that there is more than enough to meet one’s needs. Exodus says that Manna tasted of honey and arrived with the dew six mornings a week. That’s where we get the word “honeydew.”

It’s now the in-thing to give honey to guests at a wedding. It’s a pun on “bee happy” or “stick together” or “have a sweet life.” I think that’s a great way to start a marriage, thinking about the work that goes into honey, the pleasure in partaking of it, and the satisfaction it gives. There are also more Biblical reasons for doling out the honey.

Samson killed a lion, and after his conquest, noticed that a bee colony had taken up residence in the carcass and were making honey. He took the honey home and shared it with his mother and father and ate of it himself. That reminds me of Jesus, the Lion of the Tribe of Judah, killed, and out of his body flows honey, pure, innocent, healing, valuable. We take and eat and share that honey to give the life we’ve found.

Honey is a symbol of God’s provision and blessing. The judgement of the Lord is as honey. Words of wisdom are honey. John the Baptist lived on honey (and locusts, but that’s pretty sick, I’m going with honey). Pleasant words, like honey, have healing properties. We need to be salt, light and I think we should add… honey. My girls are honey. My students are honey. My friends and family are honey. They are gifts of God’s excess to me. I find those relationships are sweet and rewarding and palatable. Maybe it isn’t the music that puts the kibosh on Wendy’s fits, maybe it’s the honey.

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4 responses to “Honey

  1. Wow. To think that something as simple as honey can be such a gift kind of moves me to tears.

  2. erm, it was Raiders of the Lost Ark where Harrison Ford outran the boulder [/Indiana Jones nerd]

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