This article originally appeared in Christian Writer magazine, Spring 2018.
“There are so many discoveries to be made of this ever-changing world. Life isn’t somewhere else. Life is here – all around you and inside you, a succession of astonishments. True artists write hymns to ordinariness. True artists find meaning in the small wonders of life. The art of godly living is making every event a real do, making every moment count, even turning “senior moments” into “God moments.” (Leonard Sweet, Soul Salsa).
I read this today in the chapter called “Make a moment”. It made me think, smile, reminding me of my “Butterfly Moment”, that I had in the summer.
As a writer, who mostly writes poetry, trying to “find meaning in the small wonders of life”, taking the ordinaries of life and transforming them into the “succession of astonishments” is, I think, what I try to do. I want my readers to share, see, sense, even experience these same moments through my collection of words. I strive to take others on the same journey as me, show them the same beginning and guide them to a shared destination. Sometimes the moments to capture on paper are bits of life that I’d rather forget, but are etched within me and have somehow shaped me, making them worth recording. There may be a reader who needs to hear from a fellow life traveller or who would benefit from seeing things from a different perspective.
“How we spend our days is of course how we spend our lives” (Annie Dillard).
Our days are made up of a series of moments, mostly ordinary, but there are times when God just seems to step in. Although we know as Christians He is here with us in all the boring bits too, we don’t always see or acknowledge Him. My butterfly moment was one of these precious God-happenings.
A pause in the day and the warmth of the garden drew me out to the companion-bench next to the buddleia tree. Here I settled down with my notebook full of scribbled ideas and half worked- on poems, to wrestle the words and thoughts for my latest work-in-progress. As I gripped my pen, studying the jumbled jottings so far, my left hand rested still, over the page. Then it happened… a small tortoiseshell butterfly landed on my hand. It blinked its wings at me and tickled my skin with its thin hairy legs. I held my breath and gazed in amazement at this timely visitor, afraid if I moved it would flit away. This beautiful creature seemed to be poised showing off the velvet veined wings and then as if to complete the precious magical display its tongue uncoiled, reaching right down to gently stoke my skin, exploring, before winding it up again. I whispered, “you are beautiful,” and then in a flourish it danced across the garden. Now every time I see a butterfly I smile at the reminder. I thank God for this special memory and think of it as a personalised blessing, a divine endorsement, because the poem I was writing at the time is called “Metamorphosis”.
“All happenings, great and small, are parables whereby God speaks. The art of life is to get the message” (Malcolm Muggeridge).
I hope that as a Christian writer I will see God in all my moments and capture what He wants to say to me and through me in the ordinary as well as in the butterfly-moments of my days.