The Butterfly Bush
When my oldest was in 8th grade she had a tough year. If anything, that is an understatement. Those of you who are parents know that when your child has a tough year, you also have a tough year. For her 8th grade graduation gift, I bought her a butterfly bush and planted it outside her bedroom window near our front door.
Butterflies are such a tangible illustration of growth and struggle and beauty. I wanted to convey to her the beauty I could see was blossoming out of her struggle.
When I planted it, the plant was small. It didn’t look like much, didn’t take up much space, and didn’t attract much attention.
The next year the bush was much bigger. But it was gangly. Long branches grew tall, but the middle wasn’t yet filled in. The plant was working hard to develop its root system. Just like teenagers, this poor plant had a definite awkward phase.
The third spring I was watching the bush to see what it would look like. Full, bright, healthy leaves grew in and filled out the plant. Beautiful purple blossoms covered the bush. And then came the butterflies. It was no longer an awkward, gangly plant. It wasn’t small or an insignificant part of the landscape. Now it could be seen from the street. It attracted attention. It was beautiful.
Sometimes I feel small and insignificant. Sometimes I feel awkward and gangly. Could it be possible that in these times, we are growing so that our significance and beauty will become evident in a future time? In the waiting and in the struggle, work is being done. Work is happening below the surface and will be seen soon. In order to get to year three with the butterfly bush, we had to go through years one and two.
Patience is required. If I can be patient with a plant, maybe I can be patient with myself.
Are you patient with yourself?