Sunday, 2 February 2014

The Butterfly Experience

In December last year we visited the Butterfly House near Coffs Harbour.  The girls were desperate for a butterfly to land on them; they sat still and quietly for a long time in a relatively warm and humid hot house , which is to be commended for a 4 and 6 year old, willing a butterfly to land on them.  Eventually after waiting and waiting to no avail the lovely lady who worked there carried over two very delicate butterflies and sat one on each of the girls.  They were overcome with excitement and happiness. 

These butterflies were only 4 hours old, as the butterflies sat on the girls they opened their wings for the first time and started moving them, pushing the blood into their beautiful new wings so they would eventually have the strength to fly.  The butterflies are very fragile and vulnerable during this phase but they must move through it to become stronger, more independent and to become the beautiful creatures they have been designed to be.
Today as my little girl clung to me, burying her head into my neck, trying so hard to be brave but quietly sobbing I thought of those sweet little butterflies.  She has been basically attached to me for four years and now she has to stretch her wings out and it doesn't feel good, for either of us.  I know that if I hold her too close she will not have enough room to stretch those wings out fully, she needs time and space to start flapping those tender, new wings of hers. 
As she clung to my arm, crying out she wanted to stay with me, saying she loved me, I had to remove myself.  I wanted to cry too, I wanted to grab her and hold her oh so tight and take her home, but I didn't.  I know in my heart, stepping out and starting to explore the big wide world without me by her side, in a safe, caring, stimulating environment, for a few hours a week, is probably a worthwhile and beneficial thing for her to do.  Plus I need a little bit of time too, quiet time, time to earn some money, time to pursue my dream of writing.
I know I have many more moments just like this ahead of me.  I've already had a few when our big girl started school, caught the school bus for the first time, didn't get invited to a friends birthday party, all these experiences that they 'need' to have to grow into independent, compassionate adults who can contribute to make the world a better place.  Man it is tough!
Every time 'we' have one of these experiences I think of their beautiful wings getting a little bit stronger.  I hear a chorus of angels singing around them, cheering them on; I see the Holy Spirit surrounding them with love, peace, mercy, strength and joy; each time I see the colours of their wings get more vibrant and their wing span get wider; their heart get bigger and yes I cry when they aren't looking.  I cry because I am proud, because I am filled with love and yes I get a little bit scared that if I feel anymore my brain and heart just might explode, but this is the cycle, and beauty, of life.
How wonderful to be able to witness the unfolding of these beautiful wings so closely, what a genuine gift to hold them tight enough to give them strength but still let them fly when they need to.  What a miracle it is to stand by their side for the rest of my lifetime praying for them, encouraging them, loving them and being able to play a small role in supporting them to humbly and gracefully be the magnificent God created masterpieces they are.
So if you see my little butterflies out there in the big wide world, flapping their wings, trying to get strength can you give them a smile, encourage and support them and I will do the same for yours, ok.


  1. That is beautiful Justine. I am teary and it wasn't my little butterfly today.
    I think it is supposed to get easier, but I am not really sure about that.

  2. Thanks for reading my little story Debra, I don't think it will get any easier, being a parent is a tough gig, plus it turns out the precious little butterfly had a wonderful day, made new friends and everything, don't mind that I made myself sick with worry!!