“It’s deep and difficult—a way that leads into the vortex of the soul where we touch God’s transformative powers. But we have to be patient... Most of all, we have to trust that our scarred hearts really do have wings .” (Sue Monk Kidd, WHEN THE HEART WAITS)
We associate several symbols with our little girl...hearts, roses, and butterflies. As our children like to say, “she sends us butterflies.”
I had a beautiful moment with her little big brother on one of the summer days right after we lost her. We were outside swinging, when a stunning blue and black butterfly fleeted over our heads and throughout the back yard. With five year old conviction he proclaimed, “Look! A butterfly! Those remember me of her.” I knew what he was trying to say, as he then shared all of the ways he had planned on taking care of his little sister. As tears streamed down my face, he shared his broken little heart with me. I will always cherish that moment.
Shortly after her death, her oldest sister also commented, “I wonder what her sign will be. I wonder what she will send us.” Soon after, butterflies seemed to find us when we needed assurance the most. Lately, we find them in unexpected places, as though she is lavishing gentle kisses on our tender hearts, falling down upon us like the flutter of a butterfly’s wings when it lands. The symbol of a butterfly seems to remind us that she is always with us, wherever we go, in every season of life. Their presence gives us a strange comfort that there is still hope to be had. That beauty and newness will come from this pain. That life does not stop because she is gone. That, ultimately, death leads to new life. To resurrection. As the butterflies continue to find me, I’m beginning to realize they have always held a significance in my life.
As a little girl, they fascinated me. I was attracted to their colors. Sizes. Shapes. They were majestic. Whimsical. They were beauty. I longed for the freedom they seemed to hold. As I grew older, and I allowed the Lord to move into my many broken places, butterflies became prominent to my psyche again. I began to notice them, as they seemed to be everywhere I went. Curiously, I researched their symbolism one day. I read, “In Christian religions, a butterfly is considered a symbol of resurrection.”
That’s what I’ve always longed for...for new life to come from the dead places inside of me. (And there are so many.)
After we buried our baby, something told me to read once again Sue Monk Kidd’s, WHEN THE HEART WAITS. I’ve recently been reworking my way through the novel. I definitely have to take my time with it and chew slowly. There are so many golden words of wisdom planted within the pages of her journey, and they all seem to apply directly to ME. Within the book, she uses the analogy of a caterpillar’s cocoon, and the transformation that takes place within the darkness, allowing for beauty and a new self to be born to life. But that it comes from waiting.
Last night, I read the line I have quoted at the top of the page... “We have to trust that our scarred hearts really do have wings.” Isn’t that one of my biggest struggles? TRUST? SCARS? I don’t believe in myself enough, love myself enough, that God will bring goodness and redemption out of this unnecessary tragedy. I have felt that so much of losing her was some type of punishment. Gaining her seemed like a reward. Therefore, losing her seems like the opposite. Objectively, I know that’s not how it works. But emotionally, I feel it at my deepest. And it just HURTS.
This morning, as we prepared to take a long walk on the beach, I happened to glance across the street of our condo to see about twenty butterflies flying around a tree. I was beside myself. I felt as though my little girl was loving on me tremendously. In my hurt. In my longing for her. In my longing to love myself like I love her. Like my husband loves me. Like God loves me. In the way I feel I don’t deserve to be loved. The giddiness of a little girl welled up inside of me, and I stood on the side of the road staring in awe and wonder. I’ve NEVER seen something like this before. Monarchs in their majesty, taking flight, landing gently, wings fluttering gracefully, swirling around one another playfully. It was a true gift of beauty. A symphony of life. It was a moment of hope.
After that experience, my husband and I spent a long time walking along the shore of the beach... Talking...reflecting...processing...yearning. We talked about losing our little girl. We talked about life in the now. And we talked about the past, too. We talked about “my little girl”—the one who was abused as a child and then grew up to bury her baby. Her “healing baby.” And I asked my husband, “How does this all make sense? So much endless suffering? Isn’t one thing enough? Didn’t I need her here?” And he reflects... “Maybe she can bring you more healing through her intercession, than being physically here with you. She is still your healing baby.”
So is that why she sends us butterflies? To remind us that she is not dead? That she has experienced resurrection through the reward of eternal life? That she wants me to patiently wait in the darkness of the cocoon so I can see for myself that this “scarred heart really does have wings?” That God wants to take my wounds and cause beauty to rise from these ashes? That she and my Heavenly Father know that there is new life for me ahead? A healing I cannot imagine? That there is hope to be found? If I can just hang on?
If I can just hang on with the fragility of the cocoon on a branch, as a caterpillar patiently waits within the darkness, with no control over the transformation, trusting in the process, until new life breaks through? And OUT. And in FREEDOM. And in RESURRECTION.
Please, baby girl, send me more butterfly kisses...help me to hope. Help me to hold on.