Monday, April 30, 2012

The Butterfly Story

I thought I saw one the morning after Sylvie's cardiologist appointment. (For some background to this current post, you can find it here.) Maybe it would be more correct to say some movement caught my eye as I gazed out the window. It was too small to be a bird; I was pretty sure it was a butterfly.

I remembered a story my friend once told me. She didn't get into the details, but mentioned that God had reminded her of his love for her through the presence of butterflies. She gave examples of how in significant moments in her life a butterfly had shown up and reminded her of his message of love. I thought that was really cool.

Last Thursday, that message--her message, really--resurfaced from my memory. I hadn't thought about it in awhile, nor had I noticed any butterflies since. But the sighting certainly brought everything to mind again.

Internally I shook my head. That was her story, not mine, I decided.

As quick as I remembered, I forgot it. The stress of a baby with a broken heart crowded my heart and mind and amplified all the other daily hiccups, snags, and sink holes. I began to unravel. Up came fears, both old and new. Tears flowed. Insecurities got the best of me. Still, everyone needed something. I wiped away my tears, blew my nose and took care of the needs at hand. Give. Give. Give. And then--I don't even want to be honest here--I gave in to self pity. Then there were more tears because I was disappointed with myself. Bottom line: I was drowning in ugly. Over and over I repented. Over and over I attempted to turn around, but I was stuck. Mired in junk.

Somehow we stumbled through the day. During Sylvie's final nap before dinner, Emeline and I went outside to bask in an absolutely beautiful afternoon. When we walked out the door, two more butterflies showed up. 

I love you, I love you...

Instead of accepting it, I seized the educational moment and pointed out the butterflies to Emeline. We counted them and named the colors on their wings. Then turned our backs to walk to the driveway and drew pictures with our sidewalk chalk. The butterflies followed us.

After a few minutes it was time for something new. We decided to check if the ferns on the front stoop needed water and to count the buds on my peony bushes. While we putzed, three more butterflies showed up. They landed on the buds and on the steps where they couldn't be missed. One landed on Emeline's sandal; another nearly landed on my face. 

I love you, I love you, I love you...

I noticed a few sticks in the yard and decided to pick them up and throw them on our brush pile. Five more butterflies showed up. This is getting a little weird, I thought to myself. I heard Sylvie on the monitor and so we hustled back inside until Shawn came down from work. While I finished making dinner with Sylvie in the baby carrier, Shawn took Emeline outside to play. As the bacon fried up I looked out the window and saw, no joke, ten to fifteen butterflies floating around our yard.

I stood at the window and stared. I don't care if that bacon burns, I thought to myself. I couldn't stop watching the elegant aerial dance; flirting pairs, flitting triplets, floating quintets. The rest flew in perfect synchronization, like a school of fish.

Finally, I allowed my friend's message to be for me too. He loves me. He loves Sylvie. He loves Shawn. He loves Emeline. He loves us. He loves us. He loves us. Slowly, peace consumed me.

He's always sending us messages about his love for us--his Never Stopping, Never Giving Up, Unbreaking, Always and Forever Love.* The kind of love that is powerful enough to change the trajectory of a day, a month, a year, a life. And this time he did it with flair. He sent butterflies. He knew what would work; he knew the delicate flap of butterflies' wings would calm the chaos in my heart.

*that beautiful phrase is from The Jesus Storybook Bible. Whatever your age, do yourself a favor and read it.


  1. An absolutely beautiful post, Monica. What a lovely reminder and gift to take from this...I'll never look at butterflies the same way. Love you.

  2. here I am, crying again while reading your blog! Honestly, my heart breaks and expands and your entries take me out of this silly world into what is truly real and important.-

    1. Joy, I don't know what to say...I wish we could get our girls together today! Love you!