This week, one of my co-workers brought in a little surprise: a butterfly in a jar. I was instantly captivated by it. However, this was no ordinary captured butterfly – but rather an artificial, electronic butterfly.
I’d never seen anything like it. My mind refused to believe something like this could look so real. I just stared and stared with a bemused smile on my face. (Please forgive the pun, but it was quite a jarring experience!)
Tapping or moving the jar causes the butterfly to flit around, bouncing off the sides of the jar and then resting on the side while gently fluttering its wings. It will sit still, but slowly open and close its wings just like a real butterfly. The sound of it tapping against the glass is very realistic, too. You have to look closely to see the fine wires keeping it suspended and powered.
The first thing I said was, “Oh, John would love this!” He’s fascinated by butterflies, truly loves them. I took the butterfly home yesterday and observed John’s reaction: surprise and wonderment. We agreed its pretty incredible.
Now, normally I have no interest in such commercial gimmicks, but this butterfly has done something to me. It’s brought a sense of child-like curiosity and reverence back into my life. Its presence calms and soothes me, makes me feel less alone.
I, like most people in our modern, hectic world, have very little daily exposure to nature. I didn’t realize how much I’m missing that aspect of life until I saw the butterfly.
I’m also reminded that the awe inspired by the butterfly (real or artificial) is the basis for the same reverence we often feel for nature in general – and for God. In the face of beautiful things we cannot fully comprehend, the most appropriate (and I believe the most instinctual) response is awe and reverence. Followed closely by gratitude.