Butterflies are not free
One of nature’s spectacular displays of beauty and mystery are those pretty little butterflies that flutter in circles in tow direction at the same time… sometimes making abrupt u-turns or suddenly veering straight up!
The blooming fields of ragweed and goldenrod this time of year get “crowned” with their glorious yellow presence, yet they never seem to light on a flower; they seem to be in perpetual motion.
In the summer and fall, they tumble in and out and around our yards, accenting nature’s palette. It is a delight to see such playful abandon.
A small boy so enthralled with the nature of things touched every flower, knew the bus and caterpillars by name… he truly was at peace with god’s creature’s.
The boy so loved to be outside and was so gentle among all living things of the earth that several of these little butterflies flew in a circle around his head as he played.
At the end of each day when his mother called him in, they disappeared quickly. The next day when he went out of the door, they mysteriously started their daily routine off with their playful halo around his curly head.
One day when his mother called him to come in for lunch, he said, “Come find me, Mama!” He had hidden inside his little pup tent, but the circle of yellow butterflies about the tent top gave away his secret.
As he grew into a teenage and began to play ball, the butterflies still followed him all over town, always just above his head. His mother often smiled about this and felt it was a phenomenal, majestic symbol of God’s choosing him for gentleness, she cherished spiritually.
The boy grew into a fine young man and joined the military and was sent off to fight for his country.
On the last day before the war was declared officially over, the boy was reported missing in action. Grief consumed the mother for he was her only child.
Throughout the year come announcements of other troops coming home to joyous family reunions, of the release of prisoners of war, but not a flicker of hope that her boy had been found.
Just after the first anniversary of the end of the war, a letter came to the mother form the President of the United States of America! She had to sit don to open it… she was light headed in anticipation.
The letter was an invitation to attend a parade and a ceremony to be held at Arlington National Cemetery on Veterans Day.
The disappointment of not learning something of her son soon gave way to her accepting the invitation. She had to go on living.
Upon arriving in Washington she discovered that there were other mothers attending; they also had sons missing in action.
The marching bands from every branch of the military were the one bright spot… to hear them playing the patriotic music that swells the hears of all true Americans.
She had never seen so many flag-draped buildings, viewing stand and svelte horses pulling caissons. The decorated shirts and hat of the military brass led the procession to Arlington.
At the cemetery the mother was being escorted to her seat, also with many other mothers, through thousands of visitors who stood at attention in silence. Her view was obscured as the president took his place on the platform.
When the band finished playing “Hail to the Chief,” the president thanked all of those present, offering words of sympathy and appreciation to the mothers there who had made the ultimate sacrifice. All of the mothers felt a camaraderie as they looked through eyes sparkling with tears, knowing that his words were a humbling truth.
It was exactly the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month when a bugle in the distance began playing “Taps.” An honor guard step stroll to place a wreath of flowers before the tomb of the unknown soldier.
At the moment of completion, the Air Force’s Blue Angels zoom overhead and all eye’s lifted towards the skies as the “one man missing’ formation broke.
The grieving mother bowed her head and glanced at the flower wreath… clutching her breast… gasped for breath! There… at the headstone, a fluttering halo of yellow butterflies, were assembled in perpetual motion!
When most everyone had gone, she knelt and kissed the shiny granite stone and looked to the heavens.
The sun came out, brilliant and glorious. Her grateful tears rolled down and splattered on the marble pillow beneath the crown of butterflies as she folded her hands in joyful prayer.
Aloud you spoke, “Thank you, God, for giving me the courage and strength to come here today… to find that my little boy is finally back with his glorious little butterflies.