Thursday, September 3, 2009

Lessons learned from the butterflies


One of the mornings while we were in St Louis, Sissy (our night owl) was having a difficult time waking up. I decided we needed to give her some quiet and was trying to figure out what to do with the boys so she could sleep. I remembered seeing a sign for a Butterfly House not far from where we were, so we decided to check it out.

Of course the boys fell in love with these.....

and these

and even these

YYYYUUUUUCKKKKK!
We finally got past these nasty bug cases and entered the butterfly room through two sets of sealed doors which they use to make sure none of the butterflies get out. Inside the second set of doors we found this

It was absolutely magical. Green plants everywhere. Gorgeous sunlight bathing everything in beautiful light and thousands of butterflies flitting around.

As I walked around soaking in the beauty and the magic of the butterflies, I found myself learning and reflecting on a few lessons too.
1.SHOOT FAST

It's hard to believe but there is actually something more difficult in this world to photograph than my crazy children. Butterflies. No sooner would I have my camera pointed at a beautiful specimen than it would dart away. They have a shorter attention span than Caleb. Yikes!

2.EMBRACE TODAY. LIFE IS SHORT

Inside the first set of sealed doors, there was a young girl working. She was there, not only to make sure the butterflies stayed inside, but to give us a bit of info of the things we would see and what we should and shouldn't do. She explained that we should do our best to avoid touching any of the butterflies. She went on to say that the life span of the butterflies in this house was an average of 2 weeks - yes, just 2 weeks. God created these insanely gorgeous, beautiful creatures to live a measly 2 weeks. She said that any contact with human skin would actually shorten their already miniscule life span.

My first feeling was sadness and pity for those butterflies. Two weeks is just not much time but as I watched the butterflies, they didn't seem to mind. They flitted from plant to plant and chased one another and seemed to be totally oblivious to their pending mortality.

They reminded me that I really don't know how long I'll be here either. It could be years but it could also be less than 2 weeks. I need to embrace today and enjoy what was right in front of me. I need to play more games of chase and soak in the sunlight and the joy and the beauty around me.

3. DON'T JUDGE A BUTTERFLY BY IT'S OUTSIDE WINGS

I saw these incredibly gorgeous, brilliant turquoise blue butterflies flying around. I kept telling Zach to keep an eye on them and help me find one who'd landed so I could take a picture of it. All through the house, I kept looking but couldn't seem to find any of those blue butterflies sitting still. Finally, one caught my eye as he landed on a leaf. Ah ha.... we figured it out.

The butterflies in this picture ARE the butterflies I was chasing. AMAZING BUT TRUE. Their seemingly boring brown outside wings hid all that magical blue inside.

How often do I judge a person by what I see on the outside? Not just their appearance but even their actions. How many of us hide our beauty to protect ourselves? How many people have a heart of gold but are reacting out of diappointment, frustration, anger or pain? Given the climate of our world today where all those negative emotions are as common as air, I need to remember that unless I really pay attention and look deeply inside, I might completely miss that person's real beauty. Their heart. Their soul. I might judge and dismiss someone who is absolutely worth a second look. I might miss the opportunity to help heal some of their hurt just by simply offering kindness and compassion.

Don't judge a butterfly by it's outside wings....

We left the butterfly house having a fantastic, surprising adventure. It is amazing that such a fragile thing as a butterfly could serve to teach such incredibly, powerful life lessons. Guess God knows what He's doing afterall.

1 comments:

amyjo September 3, 2009 at 10:04 PM  

Well said my friend. I have seen these butterflies too at a garden here and they are truly magnificent. This is so very fitting to how we see people at times. Love your view!

LEARNING TO BE REAL

To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment. Ralph Waldo Emerson

2009 LIFE VERSE

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. Hebrews 12: 1-3

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