"Are Butterflies Surprised?"
She told me she saw a butterfly. She was a little sad, because her Mother had always told her butterflies were a sign of Fall’s return. “No,” I assured her, “they are a sign of summer, going from flower bed to flower bed. They are a sign of new creation, new life.”
As I thought about that conversation this week, I was reminded of an old cartoon in which the characters consider butterflies like this: "Do caterpillars know they're going to be butterflies, or does God surprise them?" (Family Circus, Bil Keane, Feb. 23, 2007)
Last fall I watched the caterpillars crawling for safety. It was a slow, long crawl to a destination I did not know. I don’t know if they did either. Sometimes you just keep crawling along until you stop.
This summer I see the butterflies in our backyard enjoying the plants. It appears their long crawl was rewarded. I wonder what it was like that first day when they awoke to find themselves flying instead of crawling? Was this a long-winter’s night dream come true or a shocking revelation? Did they remember that they used to be able to only crawl? Or was the act of flying so wonderful that they just forgot all about the crawling life?
I don’t know if we will wake up after our long sleep and be surprised. ‘I can fly? I can fly!’
Maybe it won’t be literal flight we enjoy, but we will feel so unburdened that we feel as if we are ‘walking on sunshine.’
Until then, while it might seem like a long slow crawl, you can know the lightness of being, enjoying the surprise of being a new creation on the inside. (2 Corinthians 5:17)
This summer, keep your eyes peeled for a butterfly. They come as a sign of second chances, of fresh starts, of healing, as their wings sing a song of new life sent to you. Surprise!