Recently, I visited the Butterfly Garden in the Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens in Columbus, Ohio. Between March and September, each day a specialist releases a variety of butterflies. This summer, I have enjoyed three different presentations there. However, there was something else I observed. Visitors in the butterfly garden kept chasing butterflies with their phones/cameras to capture images. I was smiling, because I could resonate with that feeling. I did that, too, during my first trip to the conservatory. Nowadays, I just wait, knowing that in each few seconds a butterfly would fly nearby, and I could just take a snapshot then or simply savor the moment.
The butterflies, these gentle creatures, can teach us a lot about ourselves, and about how to live out our mission that is lifegiving to others.
There are times when we chase butterflies: trying to chase an ideal that we cannot catch. At the beginning of my discernment, I wanted to deepen my relationship with God. I started to participate in more prayer opportunities, such as a prayer group at our school, Theology on Tap, Lectio Divina, centering prayer, and a small faith group. However, I felt like a headless chicken trying to go from one group to another. Needless to say, it never felt enough. If I had just savored and deeply entered into only a few of those prayer experiences instead of just trying to go to all of them, I believe I would have had a deeper outcome.
Then, there is a time when we get butterflies in our stomach, which simply indicates that we anticipate something with some anxiety. Whether it’s making a big step in discernment, whether it’s contacting a vocation director, whether it’s asking for an application, etc. And that’s totally ok, because in vowed religious life, there are many moments when we are called to dare to be bold and dare to do something bold as we meet the needs of our times.
Caterpillars transform into butterflies. One way to think of that is that the caterpillar was maturing into its mission. Just like caterpillars go through a major transformation to become pollinators, we, Dominicans, study with a purpose: for the sake of the mission. Butterflies have an important role in helping the ecosystems by pollinating flowers. If you feel like you are like a caterpillar, what can help you mature into your mission?
Butterflies face many challenges due to climate change, pollution, and the destruction of fields, yet, they continue their life-giving mission of pollinating flowers. There are so many needs in the world. As Dominicans, we are called to tap into the uneasiness of our world, and bring the Good News joyfully, especially to places that are more in need.
When analyzing dreams, dreaming about a butterfly that goes from one flower to another means, that one will hear good news. What if you are the one who is called to bring good news to others?
If you think you are chasing butterflies,
– slow down and God will lead you where you are meant to be.
If you think you have butterflies in your stomach,
– dare to be bold.
If you feel like a caterpillar,
– persevere in faith, and pray where/for what God is calling you.
If you feel like you are stuck ‘in a cocoon’,
– get out of your ‘cocoon’ and explore God’s call.
If you think you are a joyful butterfly, when your actions are lifegiving to others,
– continue to bring joy to others and inspire others.
If you would like to talk to a sister,
– contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org