Today on my morning run I spotted a butterfly. It was beautiful. Looked a bit like the one pictured here (randomly found for free on the web). I saw it because it was in front of me, on the path. I first thought it would fly when I came up to it. But as I ran along, it didn't fly. It did flutter. It even began to take flight. But it didn't go, so I was compelled to slow my pace. I had to watch and see what could be wrong. It looked like this insect couldn't fly even if it wanted. Either hit or stunned, it appeared to be injured in some way. Some way that was making it so difficult to fly that it couldn't.
This really shook me. It wasn't going to be easy to recover my stride. I had to first run through a series of quick senerios. One had me stopping and watching for who knows how long. Another had me collecting the little guy to cart him home and attempt to nurse it back to health. In the end, I ran on without doing anything. I couldn't see how I could help the insect. I finally had to just picture in my mind that it would fly away just moments after I ran away. I imagined the butterfly simply stopping to taking close inspection of another tiny insect on the pavement. Seemed odd, but it could happen. So I told myself, as I continued on my way.
As I ran on, I couldn't stop thinking about how that butterfly had slowed me down. How seeing it's beauty grounded like that had really made it tough to ignore. How it just hadn't seemed right to leave it behind and continue my path. It had actually created a dilemna between my need to pursue my running goal for the day and my compassion for the creature that was struggling.
And I got to thinking . . . sometimes, am I like that butterfly?
I have often been frustrated with my ongoing struggle in pursuit of having it all in life. In trying to glide through life as a stay-at-home mom of 5 while working to keep house, maintain friendships,grow a business, stay close to family members, and still be a supportive and encouraging wife and Godly woman. The juggling act is a stretch for me so much of the time. I often find I am letting many balls drop along the way. And when all the balls seem SO equally important, it is tough to watch them drop off and bounce out of my grasp.
So I ask myself, since I know there are times when I'm hard on myself, or lazy, or feeling out of control, then could there be times when I am that butterfly down on the pavement? Could I be slowing those around me down in their pursuit for their peice of "it all" in life? Is it not just that I am slowing myself down by stopping in the path to once again re-assess and self-examine? But am I all at once slowing my journey AND that of my friends and family too?
Last night a comedian on one of those reality shows told a story. He was driving in a tunnel in the mountains when he broke down. And in pulling over to fix his problem, he stopped traffic for a bit in the one way tunnel. The story went that he was finally able to pull into an entry that led him to the opposite tunnel where he was then able to drive in the other direction, and eventually make a u-turn, thus returning on his path through the original tunnel and back on his way. Upon entering the tunnel he found himself stuck in traffic. "What?" he asked himself? "I was JUST here, and there was no traffic in the tunnel before!" Then he realized, "Am I now stuck in MY OWN traffic!!??" He had slowed down traffic and was now finding himself at the back of the traffic jam he had indeed created.
So, I will note these two incidents. I now have a new perspective for those times when I'll have to slow down to deal with life and the issues it is tossing at me. It is alright to grow, it is even fine to stop and fix what is broken. But I'd like to keep from stopping traffic. I'd like to be more efficient in assessing and more quick to act accordingly. I want to be more careful where I stop to rest my wings. I don't want to be that guy in the tunnel for long. And I don't want to be that butterfly down in the middle of the path.