"Preach the gospel at all times, if necessary use words." - St. Francis of Assisi

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

On the Wings of a Butterfly

On the lovely lawns of Noah’s Ark refuge, a large number of people gathered this past weekend holding small paper envelopes in their hands. After reading the inscription on the envelope, each person opened the small piece of paper and with an almost choreographed movement, butterflies came out of the envelopes and fluttered to nearby flowers, bushes and to the sky above. Even after several minutes, they still circled and hovered around us, often landing on our sleeves or shoulders for a moment before taking flight once again. These groups of people, most of them total strangers to each other, were united for that brief moment in the release of these lovely butterflies. For in that moment, we were united in the process of healing from the loss of a loved one.

Most of my readers know that my father passed away a year ago and Sacred Journey Hospice had invited our family to join in one of their services of remembrance and hope. During a time of service, we listened to music of encouragement, heard words of hope and lit candles of remembrance. The final act was to release the butterflies as a symbol of remembrance and knowledge that our loved ones are still a part of our hearts and families.

The purpose of my writing in this column every other week is to try and share what God has taught me through some fifty years of life. Although I seem to attract the quirky offbeat people and end up in peculiar situations, there is always a lesson there for me to learn. That’s why I share them with you…. so that you might know that God is always present with you; in the good days, the bad days and even the peculiar days.

He has shown me that He is faithful to what is promised in the scriptures and preached from pulpits all over the world. He loves us and He just wants us to love Him and love others. Simple, yet not always easy. During this past year, my family has had to adjust to a life without the physical presence of a husband, a father, a grandfather and a friend to many. My mom, brother and I have sold our respective homes and moved in together because, well, it is just the right thing to do. During the days of packing and (now) unpacking, many memories of Dad have come to light as pictures and other mementos come to light. We talk and laugh, sometimes with a tear, but now mostly a good memory of a good man.

God has given us a healing process. This same process works for all people if we just let Him do it. Not just from a death, but from illnesses, loss of jobs, divorces and other family struggles, financial problems, all the things that can turn our lives upside down and we wonder how we will ever get through it.
That’s the point where God can step in and start us on the path of healing, the path where the butterflies are released to take away our worries and cares and let God have them. Just as the butterflies last Saturday would occasionally return to my shoulder, so do we often take our worries back, but then the butterfly would finally leave for good. If God is to help us through the difficult times, we have to fully let Him take control and not keep bringing the worries back on our shoulders.

I still miss my Dad, but I know that God is faithful to keep me moving forward with hope. Thank you to the kind staff of Sacred Journey for providing this day for many people to begin their own healing journey.

And for today my friends, this has been the gospel according to Jimmy.