Yesterday I shared my thoughts about the metamorphosis of a butterfly. Several people responded with authentic responses of how they shared in the challenges and lessons I drew from the process. Thank you for sharing your hearts and your journeys – it blessed me more than you’ll ever know. Sometimes, pouring my heart out takes a lot out of me, and it is such a blessing and an encouragement knowing it was worth it – knowing I did not reach out in vain, and that my journey is a meaningful part of your journey too.
I promised more about the butterfly and here it is…
Life is Sometimes Fraught With Dung Heaps
You know it as surely as I do. And I’m not talking about a little pile of poop your adorable puppy oopsied in the middle of the night. I’m talking about the crappy times we encounter on the highway of life. The piles of dung that we hit when we feel least able to handle them – the kind that splashes onto people we love and things we need. Dung heaps that have the capacity to stink all the way into our tomorrows. Dung heaps that are impossible to avoid and would make you cherish being the one with a nasty stowaway on the sole of your best shoes, in a room full of polite strangers trying to finger you as the culprit through a covert sniffing process of elimination. You get the picture. We typically avoid dung, but some proverbial dung heaps are better than others.
The same is true in the wild.
The image in today’s post was taken on my first Kruger trip with my Mom, two years ago. Given my love for butterflies, I was surprised to find butterflies happily sucking one of the things I hate most – dung! Most of you know that I am inclined to be a germ freak. Dung is at the top of my list of horrors and makes me vanish as quickly as people talking about their bowel movements do!
Only, in the wild, dung is life. In the wild, the ability to create dung is proof of survival. Dung means you had the blessing of food. For example, think of elephants. Typically, they only digest around 40% of what they eat. An elderly elephant with poor teeth digests even less. So, their dung is a valuable source of food for other creatures of all sizes. Food that has been broken down to give them access to nutrients they would never otherwise be able to access.
These delicate, exquisitely beautiful creatures, are nourished by dung. Now, as I write this, a sobering confession spills from my own heart. The figurative dung heaps along my own path, have nourished my spirit and shaped my character in ways that a bed of roses never could have. Butterflies know a deep wisdom which I did not – the dung heaps are a necessary part of life. Butterflies seek them out. We avoid them at all costs – I would even avoid them at the cost of my own growth. So, perhaps God in His infinite wisdom sends the dung piles along my path in ways and situations that I am forced to go through them.
I am personally reminded of (and encouraged by) the promise in Romans 8:28 – “ALL things work together for the good of those who love the Lord, and are called to His purposes.” ALL – even (and maybe especially?) the dung heaps.
Whatever dung you encounter today, be encouraged by the wisdom of the butterfly. Whether the dung was of your own making (choices) or inflicted on you by the hurts and indiscretions of others, something good WILL come of it. It likely won’t be easy or comfortable, but it will create in you, and possibly others you come into contact with, something new. Something valuable, and perhaps even something beautiful.
We avoid dung, but butterflies seek it out because they understand this simple truth – we grow in adversity. None of this changes my habit of avoiding dung. And in case you are wondering, I am not advocating going out and intentionally looking for trouble, or creating it for that matter!-). I am just saying, be encouraged. Even dung shows a return on investment.