butterflies became a symbol of hope for us
One day last
summer, we got horrible news at the hospital. Bennett had a new
tumor for the first time. We were no longer just waiting for post-radiation
swelling to go down. We now had evidence that the cancer was spreading
in new areas of Bennetts brain and on his spine. I was devastated.
Everyday of Bennetts radiation treatment, John and I went
to pray in the chapel at the hospital. We always prayed that God
would prevent the cancer from spreading while there was little to
keep opportunistic tumor cells from seeding into new areas that
were not receiving radiation. For the first time, I really felt
like the darkness of the disease was overpowering the light of our
faith and love. That was really hard for me to deal with and I knew
I needed to talk to someone to help me out of the pit I was falling
I decided to
call my friend Nancy to see if she could help get me grounded again.
Before I even got a chance to tell her everything we learned from
Bennetts latest MRI, she told me that she had a lump on her
thyroid gland. The doctors were not sure what the mass was, but
they encouraged her to schedule a biopsy. I thought, What
on earth is happening. All the people I care about most in the world
were having problems with their health. She told me that a
group of her friends get together and dance every week. Of the five
women in her dance group, three of them have some kind of thyroid
problem. One woman had a malignant tumor; one had a benign condition,
and Nancys was undiagnosed at the time. Her dance partners
decided to use a symbol to channel healing energy for their group.
They chose a butterfly because the thyroid gland is shaped like
a butterfly. They chose blue for the color of healing. I thought
it was an awesome idea. I liked it, but this still is not the reason
blue butterflies became important to us.
I finally told
Nancy the bad news that we got earlier in the day. I told her how
hopeless I was beginning to feel, and how I really did not want
to feel this way for Bennetts sake. I was very upset and crying.
And Nancy told me, right now you feel like you are spiraling
downward into a deep dark abyss. You feel like you are spinning
out of control, and that you will never reach stable ground again.
But you will touch the mossy, rocky bottom, and push yourself up
to the light.
with her saying the word light, I looked up to the ceiling of our
apartment. Dangling from the water sprinkler was a small blue butterfly
finger puppet that had been hanging there for weeks without catching
my attention. When I saw the puppet spinning around on its string
instantly I knew, I just have to keep looking up. To look into the
darkness of our worst fears and worries was no way to live. I just
have to keep looking up. I just have to keep searching for blue
butterflies. I feel it was Gods way of helping me find hope
in my despair and light in my darkest moments.
Later I learned
that butterflies were a universal symbol of hope. One week later
the Atlanta Journal-Constitution published an article describing
how Jews in the Nazi death camps drew butterflies on the walls of
their encampment. Since then I have seen a bazillion blue butterflies
in every shape and shade imaginable. I get cards all the time that
have blue butterflies on them. Every time I see one, I see it as
a message from God, a reminder to keep looking up and keep focused
on the light and love of the world no matter how difficult that
seems. Blue butterflies are magical, and I hope you will start looking
for them too!