His Timeless Gifts
Remember how short my time is .... —Psalm 89:47 (kjv)
Nana, look!” Hannah whispered. A silvery-blue common morpho had alighted on her shoulder in the Butterfly Garden atop the Boston Museum of Science.
The docent showed us cocoons inside a glass-fronted box, an incubator for more butterflies from the tropics of Central America. My ten-year-old granddaughter inquired about the morpho habitat and learned to identify the butterfly even when its brown side camouflaged it among dead leaves. We watched, fascinated, as it ate from a scarlet flower with its proboscis, a dainty, microscopic straw. “We saw these butterflies when we came last time,” Hannah volunteered.
Our guide paused a moment, then said gently, “You probably didn’t see these butterflies. You see, they live only three or four months.” Both Hannah and I fell silent for a moment. We left the garden buoyed by Hannah’s magical encounter, yet I felt a twinge of sadness. We would never see these same butterflies again.
When Hannah related her butterfly experience to her mother, her face again radiated joy. I, on the other hand, quietly obsessed over why such a pretty animal was fated to live such a short time.
Eventually, though, I recognized that neither the common morpho— nor any of us—knows the number of our days. Within whatever time God does grant us, however, we can generate much joy, just as a silvery-blue butterfly gave my granddaughter during its tiny, beautiful life.
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