Day 24 Incomplete

Today we found an injured butterfly. It was hobbling along when Big Sister spotted it. I know nothing about the care of butterflies but I put some water in a little dish and lifted the butterfly gingerly onto the rim in case it wanted at drink? (Again, I have no idea.)

We put the dish in the shade and left it alone to try to recover. I held very little hope for the poor thing especially because when I lifted it to the rim of the bowl a tiny part of its wing broke off and was floating in the water. I immediately regretted touching it, having told Big Sister many times to let them alone and not to touch them. Feeling bad I said maybe I injured it further so that it really can’t fly now.

Big Sister responded, Don’t worry mommy, it already couldn’t fly before you touched it. You didn’t do that.

That’s true I thought. I was kind of surprised to hear these words coming from my four-year-old. I feel like people are spending good money on books and therapy to hear this kind of down-to-earth reminder from trained adults.

I agreed with her and said, Still, I probably shouldn’t have touched it. She responded by telling me that there are a lot of other butterflies in the world and that she was kind of happy that this one got injured because otherwise she would never have gotten to see it up close. Another fair point.

Then she said, I wonder what we could do to help it to get better. I shrugged and said we should just give it some time. Undeterred she ran into the house and returned with four items.

A baseball hat decorated with butterfly fabric, a butterfly made of paper, a fish she had crafted and a tissue paper flower. She arranged them near the butterfly hoping that these things would cheer it up and help it to feel better. Both girls stood by, checking on it periodically. I kept looking over, waiting to see that it had quietly gone to butterfly heaven.

In a shocking turn of events (from my perspective) we noticed that the butterfly had flown a few inches from the dish to the side of a cushion.

A few minutes later we looked again and the butterfly had actually flown away. Even though a tiny piece of its yellow wing floated in the water below, the butterfly flew high above.

This wasn’t the only visitor we had who’d lost something. The sand lizard we saw today had lost its tail. If only lizards could talk what a story he would have spun.

It seems to me that somewhere along the line, we have all lost big pieces of ourselves. It’s fair to say that none of us are really complete. Yet, here we are, still zooming around, delighting the earth with our collective presence.

That is unless we believe that being incomplete makes us unworthy. Unworthy of what exactly? Of being seen? Of being present? Unworthy of a voice? An opinion? Wait–Ask yourself if this butterfly was unworthy of flying because its wing was damaged. Ask yourself if the lizard would’ve been better with a tail. No, the answer is no.

Incomplete is not unworthy. Just the opposite–it’s a miracle, it’s interesting, colorful, fascinating. It’s something worth talking about.

One thing I’ve learned this year: You can’t be present if you wish you were invisible. You can’t be in the now if you want to disappear. Your actual self, your chemistry with the things and people around you is what ties every scene together. It’s not the moment. It’s you. You’re the magic.

Until tomorrow

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