Today we’re living in desperate times. Afghanistan, Haiti, Nigeria – worlds not far away from my own. Closer home, I see hate, unemployment and sheer desperation to survive.
Today I’m reflecting on something I read recently.
Desperate Times And Butterflies
In this place of death?
The walls were covered with them…
Hundreds and hundreds of butterflies.
How could this be?
What angels had done this?
Then she realised that little angel hands
Had created and drawn these
Even as they prepared for death.
Butterflies to symbolize
Their hope, faith and courage.
Where did they draw strength from
These little people
With no chance of a future?
From deep within themselves.
The human spirit can triumph over
Evil, devastation and loss.
In the words of St Paul:
Death where is thy sting?
Grave where is thy victory?
The background story
Dr. Elizabeth Kubler-Ross, a doctor widely known for her work on death and dying wrote about her journey to the site of the Maidanek concentration camp in Poland after World War II.
She visited the children’s barracks, where she encountered clothes and little shoes tossed aside, but she also saw something that at first surprised and then amazed her. Carved into the walls with pebbles and fingernails were butterflies, hundreds and hundreds of them. Spellbound by the sight of butterflies drawn on the wall, she couldn’t help but wonder why they were there and what they meant. Twenty-five years later, after listening to hundreds of terminally ill patients, she finally realized that the prisoners in the camps must have known that they were going to die.
“They knew that soon they would become butterflies. Once dead, they would be out of that hellish place. Not tortured anymore. Not separated from their families. Not sent to gas chambers. None of this gruesome life mattered anymore. Soon they would leave their bodies the way a butterfly leaves its cocoon. And I realized that was the message they wanted to leave for future generations. . . .Dr. Elizabeth Kubler-Ross, The Wheel Of Life: A Memoir of Living and Dying
Those little angels left beautiful messages of hope despite their terrible situation. I ask myself :
- What message I am giving the world by my life and choices?
- How can I offer hope and faith to those who need it?
Image Credits: Photo by Suzy Hazelwood from Pexels