about writing and life and God


on July 18, 2013

I was stung by a bee on Tuesday.

Driving back from spending a pleasant morning with friends, I had the car radio tuned to Classic FM as usual. As the Rachmaninov Piano Concerto No. 2 came on, I sighed with delight and reached over to turn up the volume. I was driving through a 30 mph area so I could settle back in my seat and enjoy.

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But as I sat back, I felt I had been stabbed in the back. Yes, that’s when the bee – about to be squashed between me and the seat back – stung me!

Shocked and in real pain, I gripped the steering wheel tight and concentrated on keeping the car on the road. I was also praying! I’d no idea what had happened but as I drove on and the pain ebbed away into numbness, I guessed it was a sting.

When I got home, I hurried upstairs to the bathroom mirror to check it out – and yes, I could see the puncture mark with a surrounding raised circular area about the size of a 10p piece on my back. At once onto the internet to find out what I should do, I discovered calming advice about anti-histamine so although I’d taken my morning dose to combat hay fever, I quickly swallowed another.

By today, the area is red, raised and inflamed but the practice nurse assures me it’s not infected, there’s no sign of the sting and although I’m having a fairly strong reaction to it, it’s probably fine. Give it a week.

Funny the things we react to. I’m allergic to any kind of ivy – just touch it with bare hands and I come out in a nasty itchy rash. And there was a drug a few years back that I developed an allergy to and actually went into mild toxic shock on one occasion. And I remember the mosquitos in Nigeria left horrendous weals.

But I’m also very sensitive to unkindness and criticism, and to rejection (which makes being a writer perhaps not the most obvious career!). Those things don’t leave visible marks so when we deal them out to others, we seldom see the damage/harm that we’ve done. Even when – like the bee – we feel fully justified in our reactions, the result is that we sting one another with our words.

James, the Lord’s brother, has quite a lot to say about what we say to one another and reminds us that “Those who consider themselves religious but do not keep a tight rein on their tongues deceive themselves ” James 1:26

Peter (1 Peter 3:10) offers a positive approach: “Whoever would love life and see good days must keep their tongue from evil”

Let’s not sting one another!





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