Faith and Butterfly Wings

Yesterday Knox and I were going on a special mission.  I was determined to move a big rock in my yard to a permanent location down at the creek near the museum.  However, the rock was not as light as I had remembered it. Actually, I could only roll it, and there was no way that I would be able to roll it a quarter of a mile down the road and into the creek. Special mission thwarted.  However, I gazed out over the flower bed and into the backyard and remembered that I need to terminate some Mimosa tree volunteers.  We have a large Mimosa tree in our back yard and I believe it have a plan to take over the entire yard by turning it into a Mimosa forest.  So, I found the bottle of Round-up. New mission accepted.  Knox wanted to follow me, although by now he was upset that we were not going to go to “Dragon Creek” on our special mission.

I sprayed the participants in the Mimosa termination challenge and then I proceeded to make my way around the house to find more participants.  I was successful, so I shot them too.  Knox tagged along behind me at a safe distance so as not to be sprayed by the “poison.”

As we round the house, I heard him say, “Wook, a buffly!” I thought he had merely seen one fly by.  He is always amazed at creepy crawly and winged creatures.  But, then he asked me if he could pick it up.  I thought to myself, “I don’t particularly care if he picks up a butterfly, but I am almost positive that he can’t catch one.” So I said, “Sure.  You can pick it up if you can catch it.”  I continued to spry the unwanted Mimosa plants in my yard.

As we got to the front of the house, I noticed that he had a yellow and black creature in his hand.  It was a rather large butterfly.  I thought to myself, “How in the world did that clumsy fingered two-year old catch such a graceful butterfly?”  My first inclination was that it was dead.  Then I thought that if it wasn’t dead, it would not be alive for much longer if he held on to it. I thought he might want to show his mother, so I had him to go to the door and tell her to see it.  I had two reasons for this I guess.  One was so that he would get out of the way of the weed killer, and two I know his mother enjoys seeing his amazement at creatures.

Melissa came outside and saw the butterfly. Whenever she saw it, I knew it wasn’t dead.  She prevented Knox from removing one of the wings.  I finished spraying the plants and came under the carport to where Knox, Melissa, and the butterfly were.  I saw the butterfly struggle to move its wings.  I wondered what was wrong with the butterfly that had grounded it. I held it in my hand and examined it for several seconds before I noticed that it was missing one of its legs.  And then to add insult to injury, it looked as if part of its wing had been ripped off (still not certain if it was a bird attack or a Knox attack). I am not an expert in butterflies, but I felt like the middle leg which was missing was crucial for steadying on an object before taking off for flight.

We tried several times without success to get the butterfly to stand up.  Each time it looked as if he was throwing in the towel.  It had taken all his energy to flap his wings several times only to fall helplessly to the concrete below.  Over and over we tried and Knox’s bottom lip grew bigger and more pronounced.  Several times, he blew on the butterfly thinking that he was supplying the air needed for winged creature to take flight once again.  Knox repeated a phrase to the butterfly again and again. “You can do it, buddy,” he would say as he tried desperately to coax our new friend into flight.

I was close to giving up. I could do no more for this poor butterfly and I knew that he would probably remain on the table in our carport until he breathed his last breath (butterflies do breathe right? Yes it is a spiracle miracle). I surrendered to what I believed. I had no more faith and all of my logic told me that this butterfly was a goner. Knox, however, full of life has not seen the cruel reality of death in the insect world.  He didn’t know that an insect with only 5 legs and a ripped wing was not supposed to fly.

He looked at me and asked if he could hold it.  I thought to myself, “He can’t hurt it any more than it already is.”  So I handed the butterfly over to the outstretched hand of an eager 2 year old. As soon as the butterfly touched his hand, it went into flight.  This was not a fluttery flight in which the butterfly struggled to stay in the air, this was flight like the butterfly had just emerged from the cocoon ready to take on the world.  Knox looked up at me with a smile as big as the world.  I don’t think that he was as surprised as I was.  The little boy’s faith had been realized in the flight of that butterfly.  I think he knew more than I did.

Many times, I am quick to surrender to thinking that things aren’t supposed to happen or that it is impossible for them to happen. I am a skeptic, and I figure I have been converted to that way of thinking by doing time in this world. I am a slave to the idea of the impossible.  I no longer challenge the limits of what is possible.  To me that butterfly was not supposed to live much less fly away. But, to Knox that butterfly was made for the air.

Most days I need to view the world with wonder and amazement like my son did on that day. I need to believe that God can make the impossible possible.  I need to know that there is beauty and mystery in this world.  I need to know that if God can bring this dead man to life, then surely a tattered-winged five-legged insect can fly.  I need to remember that God is the God of possible, not the impossible.

Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.”  Luke 18:17

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