The short cut I took to the store was supposed to save time. Instead, I waited for four minutes before the green left turn arrow appeared, releasing all the waiting cars back into the hurry-up-and-wait world.
Stopping on the way home for some chips to have with the salsa I had made before I left, I expected a fast in and out. Instead, the line dragged on and on because someone in front of all of us had issues with what was in her basket.
A butterfly halted my task of weeding the garden. I watched as it hung off the butterfly bush, and deliberately made its way around the long pink bloom. Slowly and patiently, it explored every aspect of the blossom, as if it had all the time in the world.
Driving home after buying the chips, and once again slowed down by events on the road, I had to ask myself “So, what’s this all about anyway? Why is the universe slowing me down?” The answer was Simon and Garfield singing in my head, “Slow down, you move to fast, you have to make morning last.”
What was the big hurry at the stop light, or the store? Instead of wanting to be somewhere else, couldn’t I have enjoyed the time where I was just a bit more?
A butterfly, once it becomes a butterfly, lives about a month. Once we become human, we live hundreds of months. Which one of us, I wonder, knows Life the most? Butterflies, as in all of nature, appear to be always mindful of being present now; we, on the other hand, have so much else to do.
It seemed obvious that the message was to slow down. Lilly Tomlin said, “For fast-acting relief, try slowing down.” However, I knew that wasn’t the whole message, and the question, “What else” nagged at me for days. What else, Miss Butterfly, are you trying to tell me?
The next installment to the answer was this Bible verse: “And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin: And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.”*
It’s a beautiful idea. I wasn’t satisfied though. I realized that other than sounding lovely, this verse never made much sense to me. There always seemed to be a point to it that I was missing. Surely, we are not being asked to do nothing. Because actually the lilies do something. They grow, they bloom, and they spread their beauty for all to see. They provide food, and shade, and homes for the other creatures of the field.
Perhaps the answer lies in the word “toil”. Perhaps what a lily does to be a lily is not toiling, it is simply being. Was the butterfly thinking it was working as it made its way around the blossom? Or, is that just what it does; the blossom and the butterfly at one in purpose.
The lilies of the field, and the butterfly and bloom in my garden, demonstrate the quality of grace. I, impatient at the stoplight, and at the checkout counter, demonstrated the hurry up “I-have-work-to-do un-grace.”
When we slow down and pay attention, we see the constant reminders that all Life exists within the medium of Spirit, grace, and within grace, whatever we do is not slogging, drudgery, working hard, or working incessantly. It is not toiling. It is being. It is the active outcome of the action of Love, called grace.
Mary Baker Eddy said, “The miracle of grace, is no miracle to Love.” This miracle of grace is not something we earn, or toil for, it is what is given, is what we are, and it is ours to live and express.
And, when we forget, there will be butterflies to remind us. For this, and all reminders to slow down and notice that grace is the atmosphere in which we live, I am grateful.
*Bible Matt 6:28
Butterfly Picture by HedgerowRose