Thursday, August 21, 2008

The Ups and Downs of a Butterfly - A Metaphor on Life

It is a beautiful day for a walk. My rhythmic footsteps and swinging arms make my heart race beneath my chest, pressing me forward in determination. Although the sun is bright in the sky, an occasional fluffy white cloud graciously shields me from the heat, making it that much easier for me to continue on my journey. As I round a corner, I inhale deeply the scent of freshly mowed grass as a light breeze cools the beads of sweat on my brow. I smile as a brightly colored butterfly dances in front of me, kissing the individual sprigs of a cedar tree. The brightly colored wings make me watch in awe as the creature flutters about without clear direction or apparent purpose. It is free and absolutely beautiful.

For an instant, I want to be that butterfly. I want to feel what it was like to dance in the sun, freely exploring the world about me without a care. How many people would stand in awe of me? How many people would remark on my delicate wings, inspiring colors, my overwhelming grace and agility. Then again, the life of a butterfly is not an easy one. Firstly, there are just as many creatures who would prey upon that unmistakable beauty. Suddenly the brilliant colors are a target, drawing predators in and alerting them to vulnerability. A butterfly's brilliant wings are not only beautiful, but they are extremely delicate. Something as simple as a strong gust of wind could damage that beauty, making the butterfly unable to take flight ever again. And when the storms come, there is no escape for the butterfly. Suddenly there is no alternative but to give in to the will of the world around, unable to fight or break free from its' unrelenting torment.

On the other hand, there is always the moth to consider. Not at all beautiful compared to that of the amazing butterfly, but much more hearty. Its' dull tones and thick wings do not inspire awe or admiration, rather allows her to blend in to her environment. Disappear. No one stands about commenting on how beautiful a moth is, because no one pays her any attention. She is invisible. And unlike the butterfly, she is strong. Her super thick wings may not be perfect, but they are hearty. She can take flight in the midst of the worst wind and continue to climb upwards into the sky. Although life may tatter her delicate edges, she learns when to hide and when to move. Under the hot bright scrutiny of the unforgiving porch light, she may look downright ugly and undesirable, but she never waivers from her path. She seeks out the hottest spot and dances beneath it's brilliance. When the dance gets too hot, she pushes through, holding steadfast to her mission, without compromise or fear of looking dull.

Although there are hundreds of people who can find beauty in the butterfly, there is only a select few who can truly appreciate the appearance of a moth. And when that person breaks through the rough exterior, instead of pointing out the flaws in her dull thick wings, he can appreciate her determination, her sense of adventure, and the purpose of her journey. That person earns the right to see the most amazing parts of the moth - the parts that are normally hidden away from the outside world, her true colors. In the cool shade of the rain cloud, there are few things as brilliant as her natural state. Suddenly, the dullness doesn't seem so dull and the tattered appearance doesn't seem very significant. She can handle whatever comes and moves forward, set upon her task. She has the knowledge of what lies in front of her and the understanding that she can handle whatever comes her way. I sigh to myself. That's not such a bad life, is it?

As I round another corner, I can see my own house a short distance a head. I push a sweaty stand of hair back from my round cheeks and smile. Almost there. Soon I will have escaped the hot glare of the sun and will walk through the door into my cool safe haven. My home. There, under the steady blow the air conditioner, I will find someone who wants to know all about my latest adventure. Someone rare, someone special, who cherishes my random thoughts, appreciates my connections, and understands and finds value in my sense of wonder. And although he isn't getting a super model or movie star, he loves my hearty and not so delicate body simply for who I am. He doesn't see chubby cheeks or flabby legs, he sees the beauty in my determination, my sense of adventure, and the ultimate purpose behind my journey. Yep, that's not so bad at all.

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