Most mornings I enjoy a slice of toast covered with honey as part of my breakfast. One morning as I munched on the sweet and savory slice of honey-covered toast I wondered how many honeybees had to work how long for me to enjoy this daily delight. I did a little research and was astonished to learn that it takes about 24 bees a lifetime of work (about six weeks) to satisfy my daily honey habit!
I’m glad beekeepers know how much they can harvest from a hive and still leave plenty for the bees, otherwise I’d feel really guilty. What I do feel, as I munch away on the sweet slice of toast, is gratitude.
Reflecting further, I realized that my honey-covered toast is not the only slice of my life for which I’m dependent on other creatures. If my breakfast consists of cereal I’m dependent on cows providing the milk. If my breakfast is bacon and eggs then the chickens provide the eggs and the hog provides the bacon, with its life! The farmer was involved in putting all of this on my breakfast table and the trucker getting it to the store where I purchased what I have for breakfast. I could add the storekeeper and others to the list of those who make my breakfast possible.
This is only breakfast where I’ve assessed who’s responsible for helping me to make it happen. How about lunch and dinner, the clothes on my back and in my closet, the roof over my head, the medical care I need, the education I have, the achievements I can look back on in my life, my hopes for coping with whatever comes down the road in the future?
The reality is that no person is an island, no one is a self-made person, none of us can make it in life without others. We all stand on the shoulders of others.
We could take a lesson from many of the recipients at awards programs who give thanks to all the others who made their receiving of the award possible. The lesson is also provided by the winning coach who is quick to give the credit to a winning team.
Let’s make a mental list of people who sacrificed for us, encouraged us, were there when life was tough, or celebrated with us when something good happened to us. Then too there’s the list we could make of people who are currently adding value to our life. Along with experiencing gratitude for all our helpers in life, we can both boomerang the blessings back to them, if they’re still around, and pay it forward to others. That’s the lesson of which I was reminded when munching on my honey-covered toast, a sweet lesson indeed!
The apostle Paul in writing to a group of Christians: “We give thanks to God always for all of you, constantly mentioning you in our prayers.” 1 Thessalonians 1:2