Last summer my youngest son and I were enjoying our tradition of sitting on the patio taking in a beautiful Saturday morning. This day was a little different because it was the day he was moving into his dorm for his first year of college.
I knew this day was going to happen, and I had a mixture of happiness and sadness. Our conversation reflected that mixture of emotions. He went into the house to finish packing, leaving me alone with my thoughts of how quickly these past 18 years (24 years total) of parenthood had passed.
During this series of tears and smiles, a butterfly flew in front of my face. It kind of startled me and I waved him away. A few minutes and thoughts later he came back, right in front of me.
This time I got a good look at the fella. He was not like any other butterflies I have seen in the backyard. This one was a beautiful royal blue, which, by coincidence, is my favorite color. I smiled as he fluttered around my head, thinking what an unusual butterfly he is and why is he so insistent to be noticed? What was he trying to tell me?
Then it dawned on me … a butterfly is a symbol of new beginnings. It all made sense to me. I truly believe it was God telling me that everything was going to be all right, not just with my youngest son, but with all of my kids as they embarked on secure, happy adulthoods.
It seemed like time stood still for a moment as I felt a wave of calm and peace that can only be felt, and never described in words.
I needed to capture this moment so I took a picture of the butterfly with my phone and went to get my good camera to have a really nice shot of him. When I came back out, he was gone … just as quickly as he came.
I take that special moment and place it in my heart as my “God moment.” Every time I see a butterfly, it is God whispering to me that everything is going to be all right no matter what crosses we bear.
I love the new beginnings of spring, Easter and the rebirth around us. The colorless earth suddenly comes to life again, new creatures and, yes, even butterflies are back.
We celebrate Easter Sunday and the energy and excitement following that special day. The cross is the ultimate reminder that God sent Jesus to take away our colorless sins and make us colorful again. It gives us pause to think about how many times God has sent us signs and we “wave them away.” What more of a reminder of new beginnings do we need than an empty tomb?
We need to take it upon ourselves to be more aware of when God talks to us. His message doesn’t have to be tangible. It could be a kind word from a stranger, a pay-it-forward gesture at McDonald’s, a smile as someone walks by. It could be in the beauty of the sunset, the brightness of a full moon, the laughter of kids playing.
God moments come in all shapes, sizes and opportunities. We need to recognize the fact that these moments aren’t always in the front windshield; sometimes we see them through the side windows of life.
He speaks. He gives us signs. He gives us new beginnings. He tells us “everything is going to be all right.” He is the butterfly that, through his insistence, tells us he is with us and everything will be OK.
(Michele, a mother of three, teaches fourth grade at Waukesha Catholic School, Waukesha. She is married to Deacon Scott Campbell who serves at St. William and St. John Neumann parishes, Waukesha.)