Tuesday, August 6, 2013
In the palm of my hand flapped our injured, Swallowtail butterfly, her feet barely grasping my fingers as her excited, mal-formed wings anticipated the sweet nectar she had come to expect each time I picked her up.
Unlike days before when I couldn't beg her to eat anything, this time, her tube-like proboscis began unfurling and drinking as soon as her sensitive feet "tasted" the first petal. She quickly made her way around the head of miniature flowers, then rested as had become her routine.
That's where I left her, in the sun, as I did every day for a few hours, only this time, when I came back, she was gone.
I immediately began looking at the base of the plants. Perhaps she had fallen and couldn't climb back up the stalk. When that investigation turned up empty, I looked around for any evidence she had been there.
The obvious culprits--our kittens--were locked inside. But maybe a bird saw her and swooped in for a morning snack?
I was immediately flooded with guilt. What would the children say!?
Sure enough, it wasn't long before my oldest son asked where the butterfly was. I pointed at the pinta and told him I put her there to eat.
Of course, when he looked, she wasn't there. He, too, tromped through the bed, trying to find her, all to no avail. Then came the obvious question. What happened to her?
I stooped to pull a few weeds, my head bent to the earth, not really wanting to have this conversation. I began with the "I don't know's" and proceeded to the "she could have crawled off" explanations.
"Or that could be her," said my son.
As I glanced up, a perfectly formed black Swallowtail swooped right by my head. She hadn't been there five minutes ago. In fact, I hadn't seen a Swallowtail at our house all weekend. Yet, here one was, flitting around us and lighting on the various flowers before her wings sailed high again.
"It's a miracle," Wyatt continued.
I had to bite my ever-rational tongue. My mind said a bird ate her. But my heart skipped a beat with uncertainty. I remembered my children praying for a miracle just a few days before. I remembered my own prayers for her wings to miraculously take flight. I couldn't tell my son for certain that he was wrong.
And since when did I serve a God of probability? If anything, I served the God of all things IMpossible and IMprobable. Why not?
Amelia and Emerson joined us outdoors and began asking the same questions, only this time, big brother Wyatt spoke the answers instead of me.
"WE DON'T KNOW, Amelia! Maybe that is her. Maybe not. Maybe it was a miracle. We just don't know."
It's funny how one butterfly's sudden disappearance has planted seeds of doubt in my rational explanations. Even tonight, I just don't know. I could have witnessed a miracle this past weekend.
For me, it's enough to believe God might have said yes to our prayers...even if I'll never know for sure.
at 10:42 PM