This morning I went out running because I am trying to force myself to get some sun and exercise during these hard times. I put a bright yellow shirt on and black shorts. I found the yellow shirt buried way deep in my closet and it is a shirt I have maybe only ever worn once. Yellow isn’t usually my go-to color.
My heart has been heavy lately with the economic impact on the company I founded in Haiti- Papillon Marketplace. Papillon is the Creole word for butterfly- symbolic of the transformation and empowerment that I so long to be a part of in Haiti. Every day I wonder how much longer we can hold out and if things will ever get back to normal. After investing more than a decade of work into building something that employs so many people in need of a job, it is disheartening and downright depressing to see events out of my control decimate so much hope and opportunity for people I care about so much.
I started with my run and about 1/3 mile down the road I see a black and yellow butterfly on the pavement just lying there. Not moving. It struck me that I had chosen to wear the same exact colors as the butterfly this morning. Maybe something divine told me to dress in that shirt today to make the unfolding parable obvious to me.
I figured the butterfly was hurt and I wanted to stop and try to help… but decided to keep going. I told myself if it was still there on the way back, I would stop.
30 minutes later as I am headed back, my eyes are scouring the pavement wondering if she would still be there. Little white butterflies are fluttering around all over the place in the bushes to the right of me, but my yellow and black one is nowhere in sight.
Just as I am about to give up. I see her. Trying so hard to walk across the sidewalk. She can’t fly. I scooped down and picked her up. She rested in my hands for a good 5 minutes as I continued to walk home. Finally, she got restless and tried to jump and fly. She did for a minute and then gently glided to the ground where she was immobilized again. A small tear in her wing was the culprit. I picked her up again. Cupping her gently in my hands. It was as if HE was speaking to me about my very own Papillon: A little broken, but still very much alive and in need of my continued care and attention.
I carried her home.
I have been working on my garden a bit during the pandemic and have several blooming plants in my front yard. As I walked up to my front door, I placed her carefully on top of a flower, the safest place I could think of, and hoped the best for her. At least she is protected here. I can’t honestly do much for her, but I can do my best to give her the best chance possible- a safe place and the attention that even a small creature like her deserves.
I felt like I lived out a parable this morning that spoke so profoundly to me about so many aspects of my life, including my very own Papillon.
Today I think I got the message. Don’t give up. It isn’t time yet. The smallest act of kindness in a big and daunting and somewhat hopeless world still has value. And if we stop the kindness, where will we be then? It is the only thing that allows our hope to live on.
So today, as I am encouraged to continue on in these acts of kindness and perseverance, I hope you are too. And in the end, I believe that collectively we will be part of bringing HOPE to many- including ourselves.