The other day, I was enjoying the sunshine and decided to close my eyes.  As I sat
there and relaxed, I noticed numerous birds chirping around me.  Immediately, I found
myself transported back in time to when I was a young boy.  I recall how I would go to
bed in the summer when it was still light outside.  I would lay there listening to the
birds chirp, while my window was open to let in some cool evening air.
That memory took me back to a warm summer day when I was maybe six or seven years old.  Looking back now, I realize I often played alone in the yard, field or maybe up in our apple trees.  Playmates were a rarity.  But this day, I was underneath our tall elm trees, sucking on a bright-orange Popsicle.  Goldfinches, or even a blackbird or two, noisily gathered in the canopy high above me.  Surrounded by lilac bushes, trees and rock gardens, my eyes longed to take in more of nature's beauty, while I enjoyed my cool treat.  As a boy, I loved nature and being outdoors.

When I finished eating, I just happened to look upward to see a beautiful Monarch butterfly floating slightly above me.  Now, I had seen butterflies before, but something was strangely different with this one.  Dancing on air, as if on a string, this graceful insect happily toyed with me.  As I waved my Popsicle stick in the air like a swordsman, the butterfly swooped back and forth at me, enjoying every "swoosh" of our little game!  As this went on for awhile, I could hardly believe how much fun it was to have this butterfly play with me and to see him dodge every swing of the stick.  This insect became my quick friend.
Having become a bit too eager to win the game, in the middle of our fun, the wooden stick ripped through the butterfly's fragile wing.  To my horror, he plummeted to the ground, being reduced to lying helpless at my feet.  I easily could see one of his wings had been torn in two, and I knew the insect's days of flight were now over.  Tears flowed, for I felt heartbreak and desperation.  I scooped up the Monarch butterfly and gently placed him in my red, plastic fireman's helmet I found in our garage.  With tear-streamed cheeks, I showed my mom the helmet and its contents.  "What can I do?" I sobbed.  "Take the butterfly into our garden and ask God for His help," she replied.  We hardly ever went to church, but my parents still had a belief in God.

Our garden was a good walk behind our house, and all sorts of weeds had taken over that season.  While I struggled to push my way into the garden through the tall vegetation, I decided not to enter very deep.  In a strange way, the weeds surrounded me and the butterfly like walls of a sanctuary.  Kneeling down, with the injured creature still in the fireman's helmet, I placed it in front of me.  I began crying out to God.  To this day, I don't recall what I said; maybe, it wasn't even what I said.  I just remember the child-like faith of a little boy who believed with his whole heart, incapable of doubting what his mother had told him to do.  After awhile, my swollen, soaked eyes gazed upward to see it happen.  The Monarch butterfly slowly and deliberately walked up onto the brim of the helmet, stretched forth his perfect wings and looked me in the eyes for maybe twenty seconds.  Then, in a moment of triumph, he took flight, never to be seen by me, again.

Perhaps the release of guilt I felt inside, by knowing I had not destroyed the beautiful butterfly, meant the most to me that day.  But now, while my thoughts retrace the events of forty-some years past, I wonder where that little boy went - a child who did not doubt, but knew the power of the unseen to make a fallen thing right.  Like the Monarch butterfly, that little boy eventually disappeared.  I'm still searching for him, even to this day. 



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