Thursday, February 27, 2014

Why I'm Afraid of Hornets

I love animals.

All animals.

I'm not just saying that. In general, if it is alive, I like it. That includes bugs, snakes, and other creepy-crawly things. I am fascinated with all forms of animal life that God has put on the earth. Wolves are my favorite, but I get excited when I see any animal. On my mission, I made people laugh when I wrote in one of my letters, "The Lord answered my prayers today. We ran into a tarantula on the way home!"

Which is why it is so funny that hornets frighten me.

They don't just scare me, they literally make me dance. In fact, my family calls it "The Bee Dance." Which is funny, because bees don't really scare me.

In fact, I like bees. They are useful and if they sting you, they die. Yes, maybe their sting caused me some pain, but they usually don't sting without reason. When they do sting, they give their lives in the effort of protecting their hive.

Hornets (or yellow-jackets), on the other hand, don't. A hornet can sting as much as it wants without causing any harm to itself. They are aggressive and fearless.

I've always wanted to know the reason behind things. If my parents told me to do something, I would ask, "Why?" I wasn't trying to be rebellious, I really wanted to know. If I understood the reason, then it was much easier for me to follow the command (though I'm sure this drove my parents crazy sometimes). I love finding out how things work and why people do the things they do. This is why hornets seem so terrifying to me.

My first bad experience was in middle school. Up to that point, I didn't have an issue with hornets. However, one day, as I walked home with some siblings and friends, we stopped to talk for a moment. I decided to sit down on the grass and rest while our conversation was going on.

One second later, I jumped up. Pain had erupted from my backside and I looked down to see a hornet struggling to get up from where I had been sitting. I took off running for home as fast as I could with my friends calling after me, "What happened?"

"I sat on a hornet!" I yelled back. This experience, though painful, left me cautious but not frightened. There had been a reason behind the attack, and so I understood where the insect was coming from.

However, when I was in junior high I had an entirely different experience.

I was painting the side of a building. I knew there were hornet nests close, but I was pretty far away from any of them. I wasn't threatening their nest and I was going about my own business.

Suddenly, I felt a sharp pain shoot through my left elbow. I looked down to see a yellow-jacket emptying its toxin into my elbow. I began to yell and dance. My paint tray flew and I'm sure it was a hilarious sight.

That really started my horror of hornets. I couldn't see any reason behind the attack, and when there isn't a reason, the creature becomes unpredictable. From that time on, I began to fear the insect. If one flew toward me I would run. If one settled down on a surface near me, I would move. If one was crawling up my sleeve, I would panic. If I was holding the base of a ladder for my father and one began to fly at my face, I would dance.

Even looking at this picture makes me shudder a bit. 
My father wasn't very happy about the last one, but he lived through it. However, it could be detrimental to my work. I had a hard time working hard when hornets were even in the vicinity. I couldn't focus on the task at hand, I was too busy worrying about when the next attack might come. I had to keep my eyes trained on them at all times in case they charged me.

I'm getting over my fear a bit. Now I can remain still for a while when a yellow and black winged-death is zooming around me. However, if they come too close, I will still run. Their sting may not be that significant (to me), but I can't help it. The fear is still there.

Sometimes when I watch the news, I see people do terrible things, and I can't understand why. In some cases, I don't want to know why. When those events occur, I feel fear. I fear for our world and our society and the fear is made greater because I just don't understand why someone would do something like that.

However, the opposite of fear is faith. The hornets in our world can sting for a brief time, but that is as far as their power goes. The pain they cause my be significant and unexpected, but the Lord can heal all wounds. If we have faith and trust, fear can disappear. We can know that regardless of what happens in this life, the Lord will bring us comfort and peace.

Hornets (both the bug and the people kind) can be terrifying. However, if I live my life in fear, waiting for the next sting to occur, I'll never get anything done. We can't live our lives and find joy in the moment when we're waiting for the next terrible thing to unexpectedly occur. Bad things will happen, hornets will sting, and people will make terrible choices, but if we have faith, the fear will disappear and we will live happy and joyful lives.

Maybe there is a reason for hornets after all.


  1. It wasn't just a ladder--your dad was at the top of a 30 foot ladder over a cement driveway.....He loves you anyway.

    1. Once again, that comment wasn't from Tammee Blanchard Davenport, but my IPad must think that it was.

    2. Thanks for forgiving me for your near-death experience. I appreciate it!