My amazing wife has created a wonderful pollinator garden on the side of our house. We have lots of flowers, a hummingbird feeder, and a big butterfly bush that becomes a very popular place at this time of the year. I love all the little visitors that we get, especially the butterflies. The other day, I watched this butterfly zoom around the garden for about 20 minutes. It went from the bush to the flowers to flying around for a while and then returning to the bush. From a distance, the butterfly looked “perfect” as I took a bunch of photos with my big zoom lens.
When I downloaded the photos, however, I noticed something that I could not have seen otherwise. Right along the butterfly’s body, on the left wing, there was a long scratch that actually ended in a break in the wing as you can see in the cropped photo. The only way that I was able to see this was being able to look closely. But from a distance, all looked to be well.
So many of us, myself included, go around our lives like this butterfly. Zooming around from one thing to another and from the outside, all seems to be well. People ask how we’re doing and we respond “Great!” or “Fine” or “Doin’ good!” But the reality might be very different.
At the same time, we may have people who respond to us in ways that we were not expecting – a burst of anger or frustration – and we are tempted to respond in kind. Maybe it might be something where we take a breath and reflect on maybe something that might be happening in their lives.
A friend of mine who passed away from pancreatic cancer about 10 years ago introduced me to a phrase that you may have seen as well…
“Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about.”
The Gospels remind us of this as well. While there were those who encountered Jesus who had obvious things they were needing – lepers who needed healing, a person unable to walk or to see, and so forth – there were many others who had things that were not obvious on the outside but Jesus saw and understood.
So…if you feel like this butterfly, may you find healing, hope, and strength. And for all of us…let’s be kind.