Wednesday, May 28, 2008

The butterfly and teacup

"Poor little butterfly," the young girl said. "Poor little butterfly."
Then reaching down slowly so as to not scare it away, she slid her tiny fingers underneath, urging it to step upon her hand. It would appear to anyone that this delicate creature was lifeless leaving behind remains of what once was. But not her. She sensed something. She knew right away that there was indeed some life left in this most fragile example of God's work.
The butterfly nearly tumbled onto her hand, wings folded straight up, apparently unable to fly. Then, perhaps it was the warmth of her hands or the welcoming response to the attention it was given, but the butterfly began to walk slowly up to her palm.
"Poor little butterfly," she repeated again as she brought it closer to her face. "If I could kiss you I would, " she said.
The butterfly, appearing to respond, slowly opened its wings, to reveal its beautiful designed colors. Now open fully, the child brought it closer and gave an angel's kiss of love. Just off in the distance watching this precious moment, her grandmother walked toward them.
"Oh, you have found it," she said. "I was waiting for it and wondered where it was."
The child looked a bit surprised and said, "You were waiting for this butterfly? Why?"
"It is sent to remind us," grandmother said.
"But it is dying. I feel sorry for it. Don't they fly away when it gets cold?"
"Yes, they do. But one is always chosen to remain behind," she said.
Maybe this was just grandmother's way of softening the the truth so that the child would not be saddened by the thought of the butterfly dying. But what unfolded here was an incredible moment, an opportunity seen and taken to teach a lesson of love.
"Why would they choose to be left behind?" the child asked as she gently stroked the butterfly.
"They don't choose to be, they are chosen," she told her.
The child looked down again and held it closer.
"It is a great honor to be chosen. The story goes that God realized that when winter comes color disappears. The color of the flowers fade into the earth and all the delicate butterflies leave for warmer places. So, God decided that one should remain to remind us of the beautiful world He has created and the promise of Spring's return."
The child looked down and then lifting her head slowly, she whispered, "And I found it, grandmother."
"Yes, and with that you have a great responsibility," she said as she held the young girl's face in her hands.
"What?"
"You must now take time to see God's colors in the darkness of winter. You must be the sunshine. You must help those who have forgotten how beautiful life is, to see the color of God's love for them."
"Oh, grandmother. I don't know how to," she said.
"It is simple. Be yourself. People believe only what they see. Like the flowers and butterflies. But God makes people beautiful inside. It is up to us to bring that beauty out by loving each other, helping each other and when we find someone who has fallen, just like that butterfly, it is up to us to pick them up, caress them and care for them. For one day it may very well be His Chosen One left behind."
The child moved closer to her grandmother as they sat admiring God's messenger.
Take time to see the beauty, the colors of God in the people around you। You, too may find the "Poor little butterfly"

There was a couple who used to go England to shop in a beautiful antique store. This trip was to celebrate their 25th wedding anniversary. They both liked antiques and pottery, and especially tea cups.
Spotting an exceptional cup, they asked, "May we see that? We've never seen a cup quite so beautiful."
As the lady handed it to them, suddenly the tea cup spoke, "You don't understand," it said. "I have not always been a tea cup. There was a time when I was just a lump of red clay. My master took me and rolled me, pounded and patted me over and over, and I yelled out, 'Don't do that. I don't like it! Let me alone,' but he only smiled, and gently said, 'Not yet!'
Then... WHAM! I was placed on a spinning wheel and suddenly I was spun around and around and around. 'Stop it! I'm getting so dizzy! I'm going to be sick!' I screamed. But the master only nodded and quietly said, 'Not yet.' He spun me and poked and prodded and bent me out of shape to suit himself and then... then he put me in the oven.
I never felt such heat. I yelled and knocked and pounded at the door. 'Help! Get me out of here!' I could see him through the opening and I could read his lips as he shook His head from side to side, 'Not yet.' "When I thought I couldn't bear it another minute, the door opened. He carefully took me out and put me on the shelf, and I began to cool.
Oh, that felt so good! Ah, this is much better, I thought. "But, after I cooled, he picked me up and he brushed and painted me all over. The fumes were horrible. I thought I would gag. 'Oh, please, stop it, stop it!!' I cried. He only shook his head and said, 'Not yet!'
Then suddenly he put me back in to the oven. Only it was not like the first one. This was twice as hot and I just knew I would suffocate. I begged. I pleaded. I screamed. I cried. I was convinced I would never make it. I was ready to give up. Just then the door opened and he took me out and again placed me on the shelf, where I cooled and waited... and waited... wondering, "What's he going to do to me next? !"
An hour later he handed me a mirror and said, 'Look at yourself.' And I did.
"I said, 'That's not me. That couldn't be me. It's beautiful. I'm beautiful!'
Quietly he spoke: 'I want you to remember back to the beginning,' he said, 'I know it hurt to be rolled and pounded and patted but, had I just left you alone, you'd have dried up. I know it made you dizzy to spin around on the wheel but, if I had stopped, you would have crumbled. I know it hurt, and it was hot and disagreeable in the oven but, if I hadn't put you there, you would have cracked. I know the fumes were bad when I brushed and painted you all over but, if I hadn't done that, you never would have hardened. You would not have had any color in your life. If I hadn't put you back in that second oven, you wouldn't have survived for long because the hardness would not have held. Now you are a finished product. Now you are what I had in mind when I first began with you.'"


The moral of this story is this: God knows what He is doing with each of us. He is the Potter, and we are His clay. He will mold us and make us, and expose us to just enough pressures - of just the right kinds - so that we may be made into a flawless piece of work to fulfill His good, pleasing and perfect will


So... when life seems hard, and you are being pounded and patted and pushed almost beyond endurance; when your world seems to be spinning out of control; when you feel like you are in a fiery furnace of trials; when life seems to "stink", try this...brew a cup of your favorite tea in your nicest tea cup, sit down, and think of this story. Then have a talk with the Potter.

Isaiah 64:8 Yet, O LORD, you are our Father. We are the clay, you are the potter; we are all the work of your hand.

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