Jill is a big hearted woman, too much so. She has a knack for finding a lost cause and devoting herself to it until she gets used up and spit out. The universe gave her a brilliant lesson in this pattern as we went floating down the river last week.

There was a bee in the current, who was more dead than alive. Jill spotted him immediately, and began devising ways to enact a rescue. She decided a leaf could make a good life raft, so I paddled over, snatched a dogwood leaf from a gentle eddy and gave it to her. Jill placed him on top, but he had other ideas. He might have been a suicidal little guy cause he kept working to get back in the water. I was eager to continue our float but Jill had abandoned the idea and was now completely obsessed with saving the life of the bee.

Here is the way Jill saw it:

“He clung tenaciously to the stem of his life raft, waterlogged and exhausted. I was slightly unnerved, paddling to shore against the current, belly flop style with one hand, while holding a leaf with a very possibly irate bee in the other. I made it to shore and because it was an extremely hot day, searched the bank for the perfect spot to deposit him. I gently placed him in the shade of a cool river rock, so as not to scorch his little bee feet. Yes, I actually went that far. I know.

Karen felt the need to point out, in an amused sort of way, that my behavior with the bee was strangely reminiscent of my behavior with men. I find them drowning, struggling and then I, as rescuer, spring into action. Not only do I make the save, but I make the save my life’s work. We giggled at the analogy, but I had to agree. How many men have I gone out on a limb for at my own peril?  

The bee was now safely deposited in the shade of the river bank, so I continued the float. I was relieved as I basked in the hot sun, the cold water and the knowledge that I had done a wonderful deed. But not for long. Barely 15 minutes had passed before another bee spotted me, singled me out in that vast landscape, and out of the hundreds of people who lined the shore, landed and plunged his stinger deep inside my arm!  

Karen roared with laughter at the irony of it, because the story always ends the same! But I learned a valuable lesson, so the next pathetic creature that floats my way, be it animal, mineral, vegetable, or cute guy, I will look into the depths of my heart, and find that cold spot that I know must be in there somewhere, suck it up, turn a blind eye, and for once in my life, paddle by and save myself. Sometimes, the life worth saving just might be my own.’

Jill is currently looking for work in the court system where her desire to serve can be directed towards a more positive outcome. Let’s wish her well.

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