Thursday, November 17, 2011

Tattered Wings for the Harvest

This year's harvest was bountiful. Our freezer is stocked full of the blessings, others' freezers, too, enjoying the fruits of God's supply.

The tomato vines in the garden have long since been plowed under, black soil turned over to the light, making way for the lettuces, carrots, kale, and strawberry plants.

Though long ago gone to seed, this year's basil crop still greets me each time I open the door. The late summer heat sent my basil plants soaring until they looked more like small shrubs than dainty herbs for making a dish come alive. More the once, the plant's pungent aroma overpowered our senses, densely filling the kitchen as we gathered it in mounds on trays of plenty.

I have pulled up a few of the miniature trees that were crowding the rosemary and thyme, but even though they're not really lovely in their present flowering state, I just haven't brought myself to rid my herb bed of them all. Yes, the first freeze is coming, overnight death for this warm weather plant.

But until then? These few "has been" plants are grand central station for all flying six legged creatures, trying to store up just a little more nectar, make a little more honey to help them survive the barren days ahead.Time is precious as the crew competes for the remaining flowers. Each creature is in perpetual, exhausting motion, face and legs frantic burrowing amongst the petals or wings carrying bodies aflight to the next course.

Where did they all come from? The children and I have spent an entire summer and early fall out of doors, and at no time did we share the land with this many neighbors--the fritillary, painted lady, checkered skipper, and buckeye butterflies; black quarter-sized bumble bees; the slender honey bees; and another few varieties I can't quite identify (a hairstreak? a blue?).

Somehow they know the coming season.

I take a step to get a closer look at one of the larger buckeye butterflies. With my movement, the bushes take wing, air filling with dozens of frightened patterned stripes and spots who swirl and swoop before going back to their intense labor.It's not hard to notice that these butterflies don't share the perfect beauty of the ones who frequented my roses in early summer. They are road-weary, colors faded in places where microscopic-sized scales have been brushed away. Each's wings are tattered, war wounds from battles won against hungry birds.

It is a somber thought to think I am looking at the ones who have overcome. These are the survivors.

This. Just this. This is what I want to be.

I want to run my race well, fight the good fight. Get too many wrinkles and lines from smiling too broadly, laughing too much, crying in real hurt with a friend. I want to put my heart out there to love, love, love as Christ loves, even though I know that loving means someone's going to take a big bite out of it and leave me with an ugly, broken, tattered heart...but one my Savior only sees as beautiful.

I want to live like these creatures before me with kind of energized passion, an intensity for His harvest.

The seeding, planting, watering, and harvest are almost over. We must be diligent. Winter is coming soon.

"The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field. Go! I am sending you out like lambs among wolves" (Lk. 10:2-3).

"And inasmuch as it is appointed for men to die once and after this comes judgment" (Heb. 9:27).


  1. I enjoyed reading this, especially the end about the buckeye butterflies. I, too, want to be a survivor.

  2. Oh ... how I love the way you see, Jennifer. These butterflies have their own beauty, a tattered beauty that comes from insisting on flying, even when the world tries to tear it apart. That's livin'.