I had just under forty-five minutes to pick up the house and get dressed. Somehow in the madness of last-minute, bad news I had forgotten that my dear friend June and her daughter-in-law Sue were coming by to visit. So, I was madly throwing things in drawers and closets and vacuuming up evidence of several days of July 4th family fun.
I grabbed what I thought was a leaf from the kitchen windowsill, only to find it was not a leaf blown in from the recent storm but a hunched-down butterfly that was now fluttering in my hand. Out the door I swooshed it and watched it fly toward the flower garden — stained glass in motion. Such a beautiful thing it had been there on my windowsill in the guise of a dead maple leaf.
And isn’t that what life brings sometimes? Beauty in the guise of ugliness? Benefit in the guise of inconvenience? Blessing in the guise of pain?
Just minutes before that incident I had been stewing over an email announcement that my high school English classroom had been flooded in recent storms while the roof was being replaced. I had pictured tens of thousands of dollars of textbooks and novel collections wet and ruined. I had imagined drenched binders of more than twenty years of teaching tools, as well as ruined computers. I had nearly every moment planned in the next few days leading up to my son’s wedding on the Cape Verde islands off the coast of Africa. I did not have time to salvage my teaching life.
But God was telling me something with the dead-leaf-turned-butterfly scene, and so when June called to tell me they were a little delayed, I slipped over to school to check out the mess. While it was true that it had been literally raining in my room, someone had put tarps over my books, teaching resources, and computers. And when I got home and called my boss, she said that I would be getting new carpet, new ceiling, and probably new student desks — all of which I had been requesting for years.
Isn’t that just what God does with us in prayer sometimes? We pray for one thing and receive something altogether different — all bummed out and disappointed and perhaps even hurt if not a little mad. Why did God place that dead leaf in our lives? But after we pick it up, examine it, feel its flutter, and really think about it, we find that dead-leaf life circumstance is actually a butterfly blessing — what we really wanted and needed in the first place.
Have a great day. I hope you see lots of butterflies.