Our lives are albums written through with good or ill, with false or true; and as the blessed angels turn the pages of our years, God grant they read the good with smiles and blot the ill with tears.
- John Greenleaf Whittier
Happiness is like a butterfly; the more you chase it, the more it will elude you, but if you turn your attention to other things, it will come and sit softly on your shoulder
On these leisurely days, we all see butterflies frequently. But these beautiful little beings have a special significance. They are a Christian symbol for rebirth. An American Indian once explained to me that in her heritage, butterflies and birds were considered to be messengers from the spirit world. Here are a few clues that butterflies might be angels in disguise:
Joe was dying from cancer. In an attempt to give him a change of scene, his wife pushed his wheelchair out into their backyard. As soon as she went back into the house, her husband called her to "come and look!" Sitting on his shoulder was a huge blue butterfly. Another hovered around his face, as if conducting a conversation. Thrilled, the woman came outside again but in a few seconds the butterflies flew away. From that point on they visited every day but only if the man was alone in his chair. On the day of his funeral, the butterflies stopped in the yard for a moment or two, fluttered off and were never seen again.
Recently Janet wrote to tell me that ever since her mother died, white butterflies seem to stop at her house. “One always comes to the same place, a bush in front of a window,” she says.
Later Janet discovered butterfly sightings could have many meanings. When she received an honor last year, she decided to wear yellow since it’s the color of victory. “When I stepped outside that day, a huge yellow butterfly flew right to me, swooped over my head and fluttered away.”
One of my favorite stories involves a woman who believed that a butterfly would one day bring her a message. Once she asked God about a choice of schools for her handicapped child: Should she enroll him in a new facility, or let him stay where he was? That evening, as she and her family sat in the living room, everyone heard a tapping sound outside and looked to see a large brown butterfly hovering at the window. Immediately the woman knew the answer to her question. “It was doubly amazing,” she later explained, “because it was January, and the outside temperature was below freezing.”
Not every little sign is heavenly inspired. But we should take time to notice what is around us. As Janet says, “I am grateful and give God the glory for showing his love to me and my children this way.”
Download your free ebook, Angel Sightings: 7 Inspirational Stories About Heavenly Angels and Everyday Angels on Earth.
Author and lecturer Joan Wester Anderson was born in Evanston, Illinois. She began her writing career in 1973 with family humor articles and was a monthly columnist for two national magazines during the 1980s. Among her 16 books is Where Angels Walk, which was on the New York Times best-seller list for over a year. Her newest book is Angelic Tails: True Stories of Heavenly Canine Companions (Loyola Press).