The Story of the Butterfly

I sat on the park bench, next to my friend. She was older, wiser, someone who had known the painful shrapnel wounds of addiction, both as the one throwing the grenade and the one caught in its explosion. 

In those days, I was the one caught. Two people I loved were addicts: blow-torching their destructive ways across my family and relationships. The hurt and betrayal and agony had become so much that I’d crawled back into the only cave of control and safety I knew: that of an eating disorder I’d fought my way out of back in college. Yet here I was again, back in its comforting, suffocating arms. 

My friend did very little talking, mostly listening as a good friend does. She heard my hurt. She was a gentle receptacle of my rage and despair. I recounted to her how I had tried and tried; I shared all I had done and how nothing was changing. Then I quieted, exhausted and empty. 

And that’s when I saw it: On a tiny, insignificant yellow dandelion, a plant nothing more than a weed to be mown over and crushed under hurrying feet, a butterfly landed. Understanding washed over me. I knew, to the one who had created me, I was enough. Just as I was. That butterfly was just...existing, just being, not proving anything. It opened and closed its wings a few times, and then it flew away. 

Since that day, every time I see a butterfly, I’ve always remembered what I understood in that moment. I would still struggle. The addiction and the hurt were still there. Nothing in my world had changed, but my whole world had flipped upside down. Now, when I see a butterfly flitting about, I remember that I am loved, I am enough, exactly as I am. 

 And so are you.