Hope to Remember

  • About 16 years ago in Midland, Texas I was trying to bring my groceries into the house.  I usually had my kids help me carry them in and I don't particularly recall if they were helping me this time or not.  With 6 kids to feed, I had to buy a lot of food!

    I don't remember how it happened whether I did it or one of my kids.  Someone accidentally dropped a jar of applesauce on the driveway.  Of course, the container was glass and it shattered leaving applesauce splashed in a 2 or 3-foot radius.  I was trying to figure out how I was going to clean it up before someone cut their foot and at the same time get the groceries in when I saw a bucket sitting there. I herded the kids into the house, grabbed a hand broom and dustpan, scooped up the mess and put it in the bucket right outside the door.  I was going to carry it out to the trash later.

    We got all the groceries in and I forgot about the bucket until later on that week.  I was probably in school during that time while the kids were either in daycare or elementary school.  I usually made my circuit to pick up half the kids from daycare and the other half from the YMCA after school program.

    Some days were exhausting and I often wondered how I would make it just one more day.  The dishes and laundry were my worst enemies.  Trying to keep up with the piles on a daily basis didn't happen.  I drowned in a sea of keeping meals on the table, doing my homework, tests, chasing the kids, solving fights, fixing "owies", late-night study times, mowing the lawn, or something's broken in the house.  There were also the bills to pay, divorce to deal with, emotional upheaval in the kids and myself, and my health issues.  Then, around this time I heard that my Dad's health was failing.  I felt as if the pillars of my house were knocked out and the walls were precariously teetering with whatever wind that blew across the desert of West Texas and those walls were going to fall right down on us, or so I thought.

    I came home after "one of those days" to see something dark in the bucket at about 6-ft. distance.  I was wary at first because in Texas I never knew what to expect.  What happened next would stay with me for years!  I was heading toward the front door and when I got close to the bucket sitting by the front door, butterflies came flying out in a cloud!  There were so many of them!  They seemed to spill from the bucket without end.  Apparently, they were eating the applesauce on their journey south.  Amazing!  The butterflies kept coming back for days and days.  I didn't dispose of the broken glass in the bucket for at least a few weeks after.  The kids didn't bother the bucket or even seem to pay as much attention to what was happening as I did.  Even when it seemed there couldn't possibly be any applesauce left, the butterflies still made the bucket their diner/resting place!  They gave me such hope.   Hope because God can turn something unpleasant into something so beautiful, unexpected, and unforgettable!  Every time I see a butterfly I remember the bright spot of hope during an exhausting time in my life.  I'm sure the kids were delighted to see them too.  They probably danced around laughing and trying to catch them.  I honestly don't remember their reaction as much as I remember the profound hope that these marvelous creatures would stop at MY bucket of applesauce (and broken glass) for a snack or that they'd even stay and rest a while.  When they didn't return any more I was sad to see them go, but I appreciated their visit and thanked God for sending them our way.  God is Awesome!