Bella calls to me in her four year old lisp, “Mama, look! I found a wasthp nesth!”
“Bella, just stop, not right now,” I shoo her away with my words, having barely glanced her way. I’m intensely focused on helping one of her older sisters with schoolwork.
But something stops me this time: this is my moment to not repeat yesterday’s failings.
Dust yourself off. Try again. Repeat.
And they grow the fastest while I’m standing at the drier folding towels.
I know I do this too often, shoo them away when I’m doing something that I deem more important than their story, or question, or just their wanting to be with me–to have my full attention.
I ask her again to show me what she found. She holds out her hand and shows me the dormant wasp nest. I tell her how neat it is. A few minutes later when she comes running, exclaiming she caught a butterfly, my interest is definitely peaked.
“Wait! Don’t move! I’m going to grab my camera.” I gazelle-sprint for the camera, and dive back to the front yard, just in time to capture her holding the butterfly.
How do I capture time? Can I really put it in a bottle, make it stop just for me? How do we live out our days best now with joy and love all around us here, right now, not when she is 18, but right where she is, growing beauty?
They grow so fast. I only have such a short time to show them. How can I be sure that I’m not carried away with daily demands so much that I’m ignoring the most glorious command–investing in these precious lives that God has given me?
How do we make faith strong here inside these walls, a firm foundation, and rise up happy in God, overflowing with the grace of His resurrection? How do we continue to be Easter people after the death is long over and we have mourned in the season of Lent and rejoiced in the bursting forth of Jesus from the tomb? How do I tap into that power for everyday, for each moment lived in this body of death?
I want to know what to do now that all the Easter decorations are being packed away and stores have moved bunnies and chocolate crosses to the clearance aisle, forgotten and alone, their symbolism powerless there on the shelf.
I need some of that power to keep on living, because Jesus wasn’t broken or ravaged in death when he came up out of the tomb–he was glorious in power from on high.
But our little guy here, in my child’s hand, he is broken. And the brokenness of this world whispers it’s death in my ear.
They look up at me, light in their eyes as they hold the butterfly with broken wing, and I shoot the moment away, shutter clicking.
We go inside and eldest daughter and I google search how to fix a broken Monarch butterfly’s wing. Our butterfly prances around on our hands, drinking from a coca-cola bottle cap. It takes a while, but I find instructions and courage enough to fix the little guy.
Lorna and Bella watch intently as I feed the winged creature by gently putting a needle dipped in sugar water up to his curled tongue, and it rolls out straight–long, thin, and straw-like. We watch in amazement. We are quiet in the moment–really present with one another.
Then I tell Lorna that her Father will be home soon, so we need to put him away and begin supper–I tell her to put the little guy–who she says is Albert if it’s a boy, and Flutter Shy if it’s a girl–into a jar with lots of large holes in the lid.
And my mind starts doing that spinning thing again–how to do it all? Pour into four little ones, clean messes, serve Husband, take the time to share a broken-butterfly-wing-moment with my daughter?
Isn’t a clean, peaceful home part of living holistically, living a whole life, sacred unto God? Isn’t that part of my job description? And time with my Lord went out the window today–how did that
happen? Isn’t that part of the recipe for joy also, for living the Resurrection life?
How can I have the power I seek without going to the One who gives it?
I look over and see the butterfly, Albert, in his jar, lying on his side. I dash over and rip the hole pricked lid off, and pull him out. The holes weren’t large enough and he is dying. Eldest daughter is really, really sad. So am I.
I know that all the messes will not be gotten up and the supper will not be nearly done when he walks in the door–things don’t feel so holistic–but I let it go. It doesn’t matter as much as this moment with this precious one and her broken butterfly, this little guy that we hoped would fly away in resurrection, but succumbed to death.
This is the sacrifice for spending time with them, investing in them, being interested in what they’re interested in: everything will not be perfect.
I cannot capture time and imprison it in a bottle, and it does not wait just for me, just for little me. I begin to see, and the glass that I see through darkly gets a little brighter and I see that this is the theme of living holistically, to putting my faith to action–yes, everyday there will be messes, none of it will ever be perfect, and time will never slow down for me.
The most important thing is that these precious ones have their rightful place in my heart–coming only after God and Husband.
I will pursue a whole, one-piece beautiful life offered to God as sacred, offered up as a sacrifice. But to live this resurrection power, I will sometimes have to let the cornbread burn while I run to get a child that has fallen and skinned their knee.
In that moment, I may not feel so powerful, I may not feel whole, things may feel like chaos, but when I am bending and I am hugging and when I am praying with them, and when I am offering our time to God in reading His word, then we are really becoming Easter people.
And nothing–nothing–comes before. Not laundry, not supper strictly held to the clock, not writing or blogging, not answering emails, not sweeping floors. At the end of my life, I will not wish that I had folded more laundry or answered more blinking lights and buzzing screens or administered more math drills or baked more perfect meals.
I will want more broken butterfly wing days.
I look at my daughter’s sad eyes, and I look around at all the things to be done–all the demands–and death whispers in my ear and stares me in the face–but I stare right back and I courageously choose the right thing.
I let the rhythm of them carry me, these precious ones, their smiles, their sweet dimples that beg to be kissed, their inquisitive, trusting eyes asking questions, needing me and I let this safe rhythm carry me into the night until I sigh a contented sigh of having given all and lay head on pillow.
And in my heart, I silently pray God would make us all these people of His resurrection–people who don’t forget or slink away into the shadow in embarrassment at His death and life–but that having seen, and having tasted, and having known, that we would throw ourselves wildy, whole-heartedly into inviting Him in, to letting Him walk among us, and love and serve and spread His resurrection gospel through us.