Yesterday, after our visit to the cliffs, we lingered in a sunny field crowned with butterflies. Armed with nets and tight-lipped determination, my kids dashed after the flitting beauties with hopes of catching a few new residents for our butterfly house.
They bounded through wild flowers and swiped madly at the sultry summer air. I sat on a patch of soft grass and watched their racing feet. And I beheld a picture of my own frantic life.
I once read a wise woman’s observation on hurry: “On every level of life, from housework to heights of prayer, in all judgment and efforts to get things done, hurry and impatience are sure marks of the amateur.” (Evelyn Underhill, quoted in 1000 Gifts)
As my little ones rushed from flower to flower, hopping and jumping and stumbling over their own feet, they unknowingly passed colorful wings perched silently in the grass. Though the chase continued, the butterfly house sat empty. Amateurs to the art of butterfly hunting.
Finally, red-faced and sweaty, Joshua plopped down beside me and complained, “I just can’t catch flutterflies. They’re too fast for me.”
To which I responded, “No, buddy, you are moving too fast! If you want to catch a butterfly, you need to move slowly and quietly.”
My green-eyed boy cocked his head and looked at me with one eyebrow raised. “So, being FAST doesn’t make me a good catcher?”
I laughed, tousled his sweaty hair and responded, “No, being fast doesn’t usually make us good at much,” I confessed. And I cringed at the thought of my own amateur living.
“A REALLY GOOD butterfly catcher is SLOW,” I told Joshua as I pulled him up by the arms and handed him his net once again. “Let’s tiptoe through the grass and see what we can find.”
Nets flung over our shoulders, we pitter pattered across the field of green. We noticed translucent purple moths, tiny green worms, dotted lady bugs and bold orange blossoms poking out of tree bark. We spotted camouflaged gossamer wings perched atop swaying reeds, and we captured a few new inhabitants for our butterfly house.
As I listened to the excited chatter on our drive home, I marveled at the breadth of beauty we had witnessed in a few short hours-- from rainbow-marbled cliffs to delicate mosaic wings. And I wondered if God’s invitation to “be still” has something to do with our soul’s thirst for beauty.
Be still and know that I am God....
Be still! I made this world for you.. the thousand shades of green, the silky petals of pink, the pristine clouds above your head--- For you. All for you.
Be still! You’re missing my gifts.
Be still! Life is NOT a race! When you’re a child of God, you’ve got all the time in the world. Eternity is yours. What’s the rush?
Anne Voskamp’s honest words echoed in my head as we pulled into the garage and hurried to serve lunch before the next child had to be carpooled into town. And the baby had to hurry up and nap before we needed to leave for the evening’s baseball game. And the uniform had to quick be cleaned. And....“In a world addicted to speed, I blur the moments into one unholy smear” (1000 Gifts).
I pictured butterflies blurred by speed. Then slowed feet, full nets. And I prayed that this amateur would learn to still her soul.
The Overflow: “We are merely moving shadows, and all our busy rushing ends in nothing.” Psalm 39:7