Do you ever feel trapped by all the bad things that happened in your life? Weighted down with grief over all the losses that left you feeling so devastated? Are you brokenhearted and crushed in spirit?
I had heard about “Flight of Hope” where loved ones are honored in the releasing of butterflies, but I had never experienced it. In the summer of 2011, a radio station announced this yearly event was taking place that afternoon. On a whim, an hour before it started, I decided to go.
My daughter-in-law and four grandkids picked me up and we were just going to observe, but I ended up purchasing one of their extra butterflies.
I told them my parents’ names, but in my heart I was also thinking how much I wanted to let go of the bad things in my life. Let go of all the pain but also the hidden grudges I have in my heart against those who have hurt me, whether through abuse or slander or lack of support, etc. That deep-seated bitterness I may not even be aware I have. That sense of betrayal that builds walls against meaningful relationships. That false shame that holds me back from feeling the freedom there is in Jesus.
Inspirational singing, stories, and Bible references resonated under the dome in Sertoma Park. As I held the wax envelope that confined the wings of my Monarch butterfly, we wondered, “Is he even alive?” Then music started and he began to move his wings and two front legs like he was pleading, “Let me out, let me out, let me out…”
I felt such a kinship with that butterfly and my heart ached to free him to fly. A deep yearning cried out in my soul, “Please free me, Lord, and let me fly free for YOU!”
I marveled how God in His grace freed my mom and dad through His salvation and then by taking them to Himself. Nothing fetters them anymore. Jesus, You have paid the price for them. Help me to let go of any clinging hurts and dwell only on the good memories You have given because of their presence in my life.
When their names were called, I carefully opened my envelope and let the butterfly crawl into my hand, but it flew away so quickly that the photo showed empty hands and mouthed “ohs.”
Those memories still linger in my heart. My faithful God’s blessings to a doubting soul like me just keep on multiplying.
My heart lifted with hope that day, but events like these don’t always immediately dissipate our pain. However, they can help us to take the next step in the healing process.
We all go through the grieving process in different ways.
What works for one may not always work for another.
Still, we all need to go through it in order to heal or cope.
What works for you?
AseraCare Hospice sponsors these events as a way to recognize and help families of patients with their grieving process. They chose the butterfly as a symbol of hope and transition.
Flight of Hope 2016