The Butterfly Affect

Some of the best memories—that I had somehow forgotten about—were those summers, at a park, chasing butterflies for my wife, with my children. And honestly, I hadn’t thought about it in years. To the point where you could consider it forgotten. Which is strange because the jar hangs by my studio window, and there isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t look at it. I guess somewhere, over the years, I had begun to only look at it, instead of seeing it. My butterfly net sits in the corner awaiting its next big adventure—who knows when that will ever be. Still, I am glad for that time. It was a grand time.

This was from a post written a few weeks ago after a yellow butterfly flittered past me and awakened fond memories. Since there was an incident this last Saturday, I thought I would share just a little somethin’ with you all: Mr. Butterfly is dead.

I was out, working on some sprinkler heads in my yard, when I noticed a rather large, yellowish object, just sitting on the lawn. I walked over to where it was—knowing full well what it was. Sure enough, there, on my lawn, was the large flightless form of Mr. Butterfly clinging to some grass blades. As I approached, I fully expected the pretty insect to fly away. It did not. It didn’t even try to escape. It barely moved. Fine, if this was going to be how it was, then I was going to do my part. Inside my house, I went—to get my jar and butterfly net.

Given that the morning was warm, I figured that the lack of flight had nothing to do with the temperature. It didn’t try to escape when I gently placed the net over it. Nor did it struggle when I moved it into the jar. The butterfly was quickly fading from this world.

I wasn’t quite sure how I felt about that.

As mentioned in the other post, I knew this wasn’t the exact same yellow butterfly that has eluded me for years (even though it really is). Having it end, right there, before my eyes, was kind of hard to wrap my brain around. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t get weepy over every bug that dies, it’s just that this one’s last moments of life were different. Almost like the ending of an era. All that time hunting and chasing, only to have it finally be over…

Now, what do I do?

When faced with mortality I guess we do what we are supposed to do: Move on. When one thing ends, another begins. If it has begun, it has to end. Doesn’t it? Maybe. While I do feel it’s true for some things, I can’t for others. But, that’s just me and my personal beliefs. You be you.

It really has made me think, though. Think about change, life, death, people, relationships, events, and so much more. When you get used to doing and then it’s over, and you’re no longer needed, what do you do? Are you to lament the loss? Do you relish the memory? Do you wallow in self-pity? Or do you move on as though it never mattered? I would like to think that enjoying the memory is the best option—maybe the only option? However, sometimes, we define ourselves by a single action, a moment, one thing we did. Maybe it was a job. Possibly one event (or a series of them—unfortunate or not). What if it was a headline that we made?

Don’t ask me what’s best. I’m still trying to figure it out myself. It could be that all the options are best—in some form or another. It could be that because we are all so different, one option allows for us to move to another stage of personal growth that another wouldn’t. Like the saying: Once you hit rock bottom you have nowhere to go but up. For some of us, it is possible that we don’t need to hit rock bottom, while others do. We can learn that a moment in time is just that: a moment. That we are more than that. We are greater than the sum of our experiences—both the good ones and the bad. If it weren’t for them, we wouldn’t be what we are now.

Hopefully, it’s a good thing.

I believe that God lets us learn as we need to. That while He may have a better or easier way, He still allows us to make our choices. And, if we pay attention, we can learn and grow, and contribute to the world around us in a positive way. Make the world a better place. I believe it really is that simple.

As for the butterfly affect (I know what I wrote)… I now have a lovely set of wings—in good shape—to use for another fairy, for my wife. Admittedly I haven’t built one in years (for a variety of reasons). So, this should be interesting.

My Saturday morning started off just as another day would. Then, it changed. I changed. Part of my life was different. Time to move forward and be grateful for what I had.

So, I guess, once again, thank you, Mr. Yellow Butterfly.

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