Poem Series: Butterfly

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A butterfly’s burden

Heavy on its back

What beauty

We see

The Story

Sweet and short, I wrote this poem about a butterfly I saw one day after I had been picking flowers out in the garden. Most people look at the beautiful wings of a butterfly and think that they are lofty, soft, and light. But when I saw them, the way they fluttered slowly back and forth as the butterfly bathed itself in the pollen, I thought about how heavy those sweet wings we see might be. After all, a butterfly can’t see its own wings; it only knows it has huge moving things on its back. It doesn’t see what others see. When it is a caterpillar, it doesn’t even have wings! So this transformation that the butterfly has undergone to attain such a beautiful back may, to the butterfly, be quite a burden.

butterflies on zinnias

This helps me to view the trials and burden of suffering in my life with right perspective. What we see of others is often the strength they exude, the resilience, perseverance, and the beauty they have attained from a life hard-lived. Therefore, when I see myself, may I remember that I too, like the butterfly, can create something beautiful out of a life that otherwise may just feel… heavy.

dead butterfly on ledge

Additionally, my sister-in-law Meghan took this photo of a butterfly that died on our back porch. I am writing this post the day after my beloved Opa (grandpa) Ezra Ezekiel Theys, passed on from this life at the grand age of 92 years old. He is a man who showed extraordinary change in his life, just like a butterfly. Born in Indonesia, he was subjected to imprisonment in a Japanese labor camp for a few years as a young boy. He then moved to Holland, served in the Dutch air force, studied engineering, married my Oma, and they moved to the United States with my aunt. 7 years later my mom was born, and the rest is history. He was a very faithful grandpa to us. The beauty he created and repentance he showed from pain and mistakes he made were something I am grateful to have witnessed. If anything ever needed fixing, we sent it to Opa. You can read his full story here. May his memory be eternal.

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