When I was a child, I used to say prayers for butterflies. Sweet, slightly naive petitions like: “God, please save this butterfly with the broken wing. Help it to get better and make it fly among the flowers again, just like it used to. Thank-you, God. I love you God. Amen.” And then I would either put the poor sick foundling butterfly in a jar which Mom supplied, or together, Mom and I would let it go in the garden, setting it on a dewy leaf or a pretty flower, and then having said the miraculous prayer, we’d go on our way again. I for one, didn’t concern myself further with the predicament of the poor, sick butterfly; I had given it all my love in that one, pure moment, and with the offering of the precious prayer, I knew that the great hand of God would fix that ailing butterfly, pretty much as He fixed everything sooner or later, in the glory of His infinite wisdom. I know now, looking back, that that “butterfly moment” was the moment of pure faith that the child has, not only in the God above him, but in the process of life around him: days are either sunny or grey, dessert is either jelly and ice-cream or its not, you either stay on that new bike, or you fall off! Yes, tears might flow, but smiles would always arrive and fix them; somehow the universe was this one holistic beam of happy hopefulness – every day was an adventure in the company of butterflies, you just had to grab someone’s hand and go and find them, or maybe, if you were very lucky, a butterfly would come and find you. What is it that we lose as we grow older? When was the last time you got down on your knees and said a heart-felt prayer for a mere, hapless butterfly? Maybe, as we grow older, we need to take more heed of small and seemingly inconsequential things, things like tiny butterflies. In their beauty and fragility, butterflies are surely close to God. As God’s privileged creation, we too, are beautiful and fragile – sometimes, in this crazy, busy world of ours, we forget this. Think of somebody you love, who needs your prayers right now, and say a prayer to God, for your beautiful and fragile broken butterfly.
© Laura Swindon-Ross
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