Saturday, November 17, 2007

Tattered Butterflies and Tattered People

Butterflies with tattered wings are a normal everyday part of life. I used to look at them and dismiss them as 'not beautiful'.  Now when I see them, I appreciate tattered broken butterflies more than freshly emerged perfect butterflies.

Viceroy Butterfly (Limenitis archippus) with damaged wings
The Viceroy butterfly above is missing matching bits of its hind wings. Obviously it had been sitting with wings folded over its back, resting. But something intended for it to be lunch.  When the predator grabbed it, its wings broke and it flew away. If its wings had not broken it would no longer exist.  It would have been lunch.

Gulf Fritillary butterfly (Agraulis vanillae) with damaged broken wings
This Gulf Fritillary butterfly is simply tattered from living life. I noticed it flying in the garden and snapped a few photos to record its triumphs in life. With a great deal of its wings missing, it was still flying about and living a good life. It drank nectar from several species of flowers before flying away to another area of the garden.

Sharon Maiden is a wonderful woman that I'm honored to be able to call my friend. She always brightens my days with her letters. No matter how hard my day has been, her letters leave me laughing. In one recent letter she wrote, "I am on my knees, and that ain't so easy anymore, the floor is way to far down for me these days." Laughing, I knew that she has victory over life's challenges. Although life and age has its toll, it also has its triumphs. I hope I can develop the outlook I see in her letters. No matter what happens, she is upbeat and funny, leaving her friends laughing and thankful for her like Paul was thankful for the Philippians.

I enjoy listening to people who share their life's ups and downs. Oh, they are missing wing parts too! Scales are missing; sometimes their 'color' is a bit drab. Sometimes large 'wing bits' are missing. But they are 'flying' in spirit if not in body. The more they are tattered, the more true beauty shines through them.

From health problems to relationship challenges, job cuts to loss of loved ones, we all change as we live from day to day. For some of us, these changes start at birth. Others have protected lives and the changes come later in life.

The 'tatter' we see in each other are often badges of triumph. Perhaps some of the tatters were our own fault. We made bad choices, but when we come out of them 'flying', we are triumphant.

I have a friend who lost his leg at the age of eight. Using crutches for over 40 years, he has done everything a man with two legs could do, except wear two shoes. And unlike many of us with two legs, he always has a smile and positive outlook on life. Bumping into him always leaves one with a smile and a bit more energy in one's step.

I hope and pray that even with my tatters, that I will live my life from now on so that those who think of me will give thanks to God as I thank God for people in my life like Sharon.

Philippians 1:3 "Every time I think of you, I give thanks to my God."

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