Let’s Talk About Butterflies
When I (Travis) was growing up, and we had discussed an unpleasant subject for too long, my mother would redirect the conversation by saying, “Let’s talk about butterflies.” I don’t know about you, but I have consumed plenty of information about the coronavirus and the profoundly negative impact it is having on the world around us. Not to hide from reality, but I need a break! Perhaps it is time to talk about butterflies.
This spring has been absolutely stunning in Georgia. The blooming trees and flowers have been beautiful. The weather has generally been wonderful. While spending time in our garden last week, one of our hummingbird friends let us know it was time to set out our feeder for the season. Moreover, since we let our springtime backyard grow until the daisies go to seed, we also noticed that some of our favorite butterflies had returned.
Seeing the butterflies last week was very fitting, especially given that it was the first week of the Easter season. Butterflies symbolize:
- Abrupt change: prior to mid-March, most of us were carrying on in our routines (the equivalent of a caterpillar just munching on its leaves), when everything suddenly came to a screeching halt. Now, people all across the world have been asked to embrace these changes – physically, emotionally, socially, spiritually, environmentally, etc. – while we shelter in place (forced to spend time in our cocoons, wondering what we and the world will look like when we are finally able to emerge).
- Mystery: our expectations of how life is supposed to be have been completely altered, and we don’t know how God is going to use this situation (just like the mystery of how a caterpillar becomes a butterfly).
- Transformation: we recognize that neither we, as people, nor the creation are the same as we were a month ago, and we will not be the same in the months to come. Seeing the butterflies reminds us of how something so magnificent comes from an ordinary caterpillar. As Christians, as Easter people, we trust that the God who brought resurrection from crucifixion can also work miracles in and through our current situation.
Christ is Risen! This fact offers us new life and new hope in the midst of our uncertain present and into the future.
Karen and Travis Webster
This post originally appeared in the Healthy Seminarians, Healthy Church Newsletter.
Rev. Dr. Karen Webster is co-founder and executive director of the Healthy Seminarians-Healthy Church Initiative, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organized (housed at Columbia Theological Seminary) and validated ministry of Trinity Presbytery (SC). In addition to being an ordained PC(USA) pastor, Karen is certified as an Exercise Physiologist, Nutrition Specialist, and Health and Wellness Coach.
Rev. Travis Webster is the co-founder of the Healthy Seminarians-Healthy Church, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization housed at Columbia Theological Seminary and validated ministry of Trinity Presbytery (SC). In addition, he is a student in the Th.D for Pastoral Counseling program at Columbia Theological Seminary and serves as a pastoral counselor in training at the Training and Counseling Center at St. Luke’s in Atlanta