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It felt important to pick up the dead butterfly. I was out on my regular walk and much of my time on the path I am listening to a podcast or audio book, on this day I was listening to Falling Upward, a book by Father Richard Rohr. The other part of its title and the heart of the subject is "A Spirituality for the two halves of Life". Those words, this book, has come at such the season. A release, stopping, review and turning. A real life example to the phrase I was privy to a number of years ago, "It's a wise person who knows what time it is". I guess that's why it felt important to pick up the dead butterfly.
My experience has been this. Fashioned upon the path that we all walk are the environments, stories, communities and sometimes painfully metaphorical and physical pictures that help us see where we are. Having walked the path of words in scripture, having chosen to be moved by the Holy Spirit in how to make next choices and movements on a very real and continent shifting plane, I am becoming more and more convinced that our lives tell stories that have all the clues hidden in them and that this is where faith, comfort, hope and love can all be deeply embodied. That to be comforted into what it means to know what time it is a gift from our creator. I guess that's why it felt important to pick up the dead butterfly and walk with it.
When we start to see the layers, the physical, the things on our path we get to discover the way that God loves us. Each one of us gets this unique experience of God in our midst. Each one of us need only slow down enough to start gathering the pieces of our stories and tenderly place them as markers of memorial on this earth. Then, as our eyes are lifted and we ask heaven to touch this earth we can simply say, "You love me this way" and smile, just as I did on the path the other day. I guess that's why it felt important to carry the butterfly for three miles. You can't hold onto it tightly, so you carry it lightly, paying attention to its position on your hand and remembering also the mystical ride the butterfly has been on up to that moment. It's full of presence and very humbling.
Funny thing is that two days before this walk the thing that captured my eye on the same path was a caterpillar rolling itself into the undergrowth of leaves that bordered the way. I could remember that while I held the dead butterfly on the path, that sometimes the cycles turn quicker than is normally possible, that these kind of miracles might just be available to us more often and abundantly than we ever could have imagined.
Today if there is one thing I am discovering and hoping you hear, is that hidden in your story is a mystical overflow of the way that we are loved by the creator of all generative things, and only we get to notice, read, and tell the story. If heaven is this place where there is no pain, death, sickness, or separation from our very practical God who is love, what was Jesus offering us when we asked, how then shall we pray?
"Your Kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.."
It's story telling in its most sacred form. That nothing is separated in the kingdom of God and it is a layered and cyclical picture of love and grace, just as the heavens and earth are formed before our very eyes on a daily basis. We look up, we see sky, we look down, we see earth, what more do we need to start telling the story and seeing our story anew?
I guess that's why it felt important to pick up the butterfly, the dead butterfly, and place it on a little pile of stones that I have collected over the last couple of years, each with its own story. This dead butterfly joins the story at a point where falling upward makes no sense and yet its the only direction beckoning me to release, turn and be found again, ready for a second half and willing to keep on writing the story with a new song on my lips that goes a bit like this, "you love me this way."