I have never been stung by a bee in my life, until yesterday. And guess what? It really hurts.
It happened on the way home from walking Croft to school. The little bugger got me on the back of my right calf. I had a ways to go still and I didn’t have any ice or water. It seemed like the blood flow to my legs as I walked exacerbated the pain. My calf got all stiff and I was sure I was having an allergic reaction. I even daydreamed about having to call 911.
As I walked with the sting hurting the whole way home, I felt a little guilty about how I reacted to my kids when they had been stung by bees. Crew got stung this summer and I just gave him a little side hug and the obligatory “Are you okay?” as I continued to talk to Elle’s tennis coach. Elle got stung on her lip when she was a baby and she screamed for 30 minutes. No amount of nurturing could console her. I was sure I had a drama queen on my hands (wonder where she got that trait?) And I could never understand why the kids would come running in from the tramp because they saw a bee. What was the big deal?
Now I get it…because I have been stung too.
And so it is with trials and difficult life experiences. Yes, trials have the potential to make us stronger and wiser, but perhaps even more significant is that trials also have the potential to make us kinder, gentler, more understanding and less judgmental with our children, family, friends, neighbors and even strangers. Our own adversity can cultivate empathy and compassion in us and we can offer a different level of support to those in need when we have experienced similar pain.
Next time my kids get stung by a bee, I’m all over it with hugs and ice and snuggles and popsicles.
And when I see a bee I should probably thank him for making me a better person… right before I step on him.