The Shattered Butterfly

It was a warm summer afternoon, as I sat eating my lunch in a public park in Santa Fe Springs, California. At the time, I was much less than active in The Church, and my life was going nowhere real fast. As I sat there lost in my own little world, I observed a beautiful Monarch Butterfly peacefully going from point to point enjoying the fullness of its creation, alighting for just a moment here before moving on to another point there. Then to my surprise, it landed on my hand, and allowed me to study it slowly and carefully, from all angles before it fluttered off again. The remainder of that day I thought about the butterfly, and how such a thing of beauty could enter my life. Had I tried to capture it, it would undoubtedly have flown away never to return or died in captivity, but allowed to do what came naturally, it shared with me some of the beauty that our Father in Heaven has blessed us with.

When I arrived home that evening, I discovered a small package from a non-member friend. The package contained a beautiful Lennox figurine of a Monarch Butterfly and a note telling how those things of beauty, would flutter about just beyond reach. But if we would sit calmly and allow it to, it might just alight upon us of its own free will.

The butterfly, though beautiful had suffered a slight casualty in transit. It had been broken free from its stand right where the body touched the flower stem. This caused me to start to think about how I had broken away from the foundation I had in the gospel and the church. I began to realize how important the simple beauty of the gospel is in our lives, and I was determined to return to church, and correct the mindset I had acquired.

To further drive this lesson home, in the days that followed, my home teacher came to visit, as he did many times each month. But this time he brought a challenge to return to church, and a promise that if I would, the Lord would bless me beyond anything I could comprehend. As if in teamwork with my home teacher, my daughter also called that Sunday to ask if I were going to go to church. With all of these events, I knew I better listen to the prompting and go. Well that began the long road back, and at the same time, I began the task of repairing the butterfly. But, try as I might, I could not get the butterfly reattached to its base. I had tried many several different types of glue and adhesives, none of which would work. The road back to the teachings of the church was just as difficult, sporadic tithing payments, infrequent prayers, often missed meetings. I wasn’t getting attached to the Gospel, as I should be either. But as I continued my efforts, tithing became easier, attendance at church and completing church callings became second nature, prayer had become a necessity, and I grew closer to my daughters than ever before. Then the Lord began to bless me in visible ways that I could understand, better conditions at work, better control of my finances, a meaning to life that I had lost. It wasn’t complete, but it was much better. Then came the day I decided to purchase a home of my own, a dream I had held on to for many years, but thought would never come to pass. The Lord seemed to bless me in every step of the process, from getting the house for much less than market value, to the financial requirements and needs being met effortlessly. Soon I was residing in my home. Shortly after moving in, I found a special adhesive that was guaranteed to affix anything when used properly. And yes, my precious butterfly was once again mounted upon its flower, just as Christ’s love had made it possible for me to become attached to the foundation the gospel provides us.

After a while in my new home, I realized there was something missing, and that was someone to share it with. So I began to fast and pray about being alone. And I did meet a very special sister, who I fell for immediately. As sometimes happens, I began to forget the hand of the Lord in my life and started doing things my own way, not the Lord’s. My world began to fall apart again, Money once again became a problem, and I was informed I would need surgery and would be bed ridden for 5-7 weeks, and would require the assistance of others in to properly heal–something that was very difficult for me to accept. As the surgery came and went, and the recovery began, I faced a new battle as well. I learned that this special sister had not fallen for me as I had fallen for her. She was rapidly withdrawing from my life. By the time I had recovered, I had lost all contact with her, and my life was once again shattered into little remnants. Depression set in, and I began to question my own self worth. I lost interest in participating in life itself. The only thing that kept me hanging on was the love of my daughter. Life had become something to be put up with, not enjoyed. The prayers became infrequent and church attendance dropped off.

Then, one day, as I entered my living room, I noticed that one of the photos of my oldest daughter, which normally sat on my mantle, had fallen to the hearth below. Upon closer checking, I discovered not only the photo had fallen, but the butterfly had also toppled. It appeared as if the butterfly had placed itself in the path of the photo to break its fall, and had sacrificed itself to protect one of my greatest loves. Just as Christ sacrificed Himself to pay the price for our sins.

This time I was sure my poor butterfly was beyond repair, broken into many pieces and no longer recognizable as a its former self. I gathered the pieces, placed them in a zip lock bag, and set them aside to decide their fate. While telling my sister of this, she asked me to bring it over when I went to visit. She took the pieces, not knowing what it looked like prior to the accident, and began to lovingly rebuild my precious memories with simple white glue, but with the touch of a master craftsman’s hand. A week later, she presented me with the rebuilt butterfly. Although up close you can see its scars and disfigurements, just as Christ has the scars from his sacrifice upon the cross, the true beauty still shines through.

The reconstruction in my life is still in the basics, but I am getting there, and I know I will make it. I have learned that Christ’s love for us is the bonding force that is available to every Child of God, if we will just accept that love, and structure our lives to live His will, that the true beauty of our lives can shine through…

Well, it has been several years since I wrote The Shattered Butterfly, and the road has continued to be rocky. There have been more heartbreaks, and some very enlightening events. The most recent being the final understanding that even I can forgive myself for wrong doings in the past, if I but accept that I have done all that I can do to set things right. My personal forgiveness does not depend upon those I have offended forgiving me, but rather on the fact that I have done all in my power to make full restitution and to seek their forgiveness; it is not my problem if they cannot forgive me. Most importantly, I understand that my happiness does not depend upon another, except the one exception and that being Jesus Christ Himself.

The butterfly has been set free–no longer a prisoner to serve my needs–for I have found that the only true healing and bonding agent I need is the power of prayer. It is my hope that my story will assist you in finding your own answers, and that you may learn that you to can find true happiness if you but follow the promptings of the Spirit.

This is not the end, but just the beginning…