All Out Of Ink

October 20, 2011

Broken Butterflies (or, When Words Don’t Matter)

Filed under: Pieces of Life — Laynie @ 10:39 pm

Butterflies have always symbolized hope to me. They are like little pieces of comfort, assurance of peace, reminders that God has His hand on us. The butterfly on my front lawn last Monday was different. My parents stopped by to visit, and afterward, I walked them out to the driveway. I was standing barefoot on the warm pavement laughing about something when I noticed a butterfly fluttering in the grass.

As my parents drove away, I sat down in the grass beside the butterfly. Flapping desperately, it couldn’t fly. One wing was missing.

Beauty and grace, hope and assurance, frightened and caught. Broken.

I cupped my hands and nudged the butterfly into them. I picked it up. I thought to put it by the rose bush, not sure why, maybe beauty with beauty, but that was not a good place for the butterfly. He was even more frantic in my hands than in the grass, so I set him back down. I just stayed a while, quietly knowing there was nothing anything or anyone could do. It was worse than seeing something dead because there was pain with no hope. Lifeless calm would have been better.

The butterfly didn’t know I was there. It was alone, I realized, even with me. I couldn’t comfort it. I don’t speak butterfly.

In the end, I left the butterfly in the grass, struggling in fear, because I couldn’t bear to sit beside it any longer. I went inside, feeling as if I had betrayed something priceless, something divine and innocent, and I wept bitterly.

Beauty and hope should never die struggling and alone. And our hearts should break if ever they do.

This hasn’t got a thing to do with writing, except that maybe I’ll write about it someday. (This doesn’t count.) Or maybe I won’t. Some things never settle in the mind well enough to wrap words around them.

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