A note from the publisher
What follows is a reflection from parishioner Gayle Pershouse, who is the first of several leaders who will occasionally write to us about ministry and faith. I am grateful to Gayle for her time and thoughtfulness, and grateful to you for valuing one another’s ministries and gifts. Suffice to say the writers of this column needn’t be limited to the clergy and program staff! If you are interested in writing what we refer to as “the pastoral article” please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org; I would be glad to describe the process and help you inspire our parish’s faith.
Faithfully in Christ,
Healing My Black Swallowtail
Yesterday, a beautiful butterfly tumbled into my basket as I stood in the garden picking cherry tomatoes. As it fell to the bottom, a few tomatoes rolled over it, pinning its wings to the bottom of the basket. “Oh dear,” I thought, “he’s too weak to get up.” He flapped his wings a little trying to get out from under the round, rolling fruit. I took out all the tomatoes in order to help the butterfly. He couldn’t climb up the side of the basket to get out, much less fly, but he didn’t look at all injured. His wings were perfect and none of his legs or antennae seemed to be going off at odd angles. Was he sick? Was he dying?
Frank loves butterflies. He’s taught me how to recognize a few different kinds. I knew this one was very special, not one we’ve ever seen in our garden. Black swallowtails are rather rare around here. I carefully helped him climb up onto a leaf. From there he clung to a slender stalk, as still as a statue. He didn’t even wave his wings the way butterflies usually do. I decided to try to give him some healing. So I cupped my hands loosely around him and began to send him healing energy. Normally black swallowtails are pretty wary. They won’t let you get within a foot or more of them. This one clung quietly to his stalk while I cupped my hands within 3 inches all around him - even though my hands were putting him in the shadow. Butterflies don’t like shade.
I kept my hands around the little creature as long as I could. It started to rain. “ What am I doing healing an insect? Am I crazy? Can he feel anything? Is this healing energy strong enough to actually help him fly again?” I doubted it could do any good. He sat very still on his stalk. I could see tiny eyes looking at me. I took a picture and went in out of the rain figuring I’d never know.
Today I was making lunch when Frank came in from the garden with the tomato basket in hand. He set it down and went over to the kitchen window. “Look! There’s a butterfly trying to get out!” I came over to the window to see, and there was our rare black swallowtail flying up and down in front of the closed kitchen window trying to escape! We put him into the small basket and carried him out to the garden to release him. But how did he get into the kitchen? It’s a mystery because all the doors and windows were closed.
Did he come back to say “Thank you! I’m going to live. I can fly now.”? Was the Holy Spirit trying to say to me “healing is very real? Don’t worry about your upcoming MRI. Your cancer is already healed.”? Yes, I know it was.