The Wounded Butterfly

by Wendy Wolfe on October 9, 2013

1376422219995Recently I was near Spring Green at my writing mentor’s home walking a labyrinth in a beautiful meadow when I noticed a butterfly feeding from a bee balm.  As I watched her I could see that she was missing a portion of her wing on the lower right hand side.  Despite this “wounding” the butterfly easily moved from flower to flower seeking nectar.  Though we might have considered her handicapped, she flew off without any hint of disability.  Clearly, this imperfection did not keep her from enjoying the sweetness of life.

I was inspired to write about this beautiful creature and was disappointed that I didn’t have my camera with me.  Later, after lunch, I decided to walk the labyrinth again with camera in hand and call the butterfly to me for a photo op.  I stood before the path and centered 1376421407909myself, focused on my heart center and brought the image of the butterfly into my awareness.  In my mind I asked the butterfly to please come back to where I was so I could get a photograph.  When she didn’t show up immediately (yeah, I expect that sort of thing) I began walking the path staying present to all that was around me.  I had hoped the butterfly would come quickly but apparently I needed to walk the entire labyrinth again.  As I neared the center, I spotted her just to my left.  She was feeding on a bee balm that bent over the path.  I readied my camera and took some photos…quite sure that I captured a view with the missing piece of wing.  As it turns out, the image wasn’t quite as revealing as I had hoped.  Just the same, I was grateful the butterfly had accommodated my wishes.

As I returned to the house where other writers were gathered, a woman asked to see the photo of the butterfly.  She shared that earlier on her walk she also saw a wounded butterfly.  Although she had seen a Monarch, and mine was not, it was interesting to realize there were other wounded butterflies feeding in the fields.

I have always believed the ability to fly is dependent upon perfect aerodynamics.   I expect this ability would be destroyed by a missing piece of wing.  And yet, this butterfly moved without any visible problems.  She and other butterflies were flying in the face of the science that would say this impossible.

So often we think of our differences or imperfections as handicaps or wounding.   We see ourselves as less than perfect, somehow invalid…or as an invalid.  The truth is that our differences and imperfections  are what set us apart from others, what make us unique and beautiful.  When we can embrace our whole selves including aspects that might be judged as less than perfect, we find peace.  We find a love that transcends all others.  A love of self.

To the butterfly, there was no wounding; no disability.  She was never told that it is impossible to fly with a broken wing. She had only her desire to take in the sweet nectar of the flowers and let nothing stop her.  She is my Shero.

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