a bowl full of butterflies

On our dining room table, there sat a bowl full of butterflies. Red ones, green ones, purple ones and yellow, they were layered into the crystal bowl. The glitter on their wings sparkled in the afternoon sun. I can't say that they reminded me of anything, only that I smiled every time I saw them.

"Who puts butterflies in bowls?" I would think to myself, "what a silly thing to do." Of course, I know who did it. I don't think she even knew why, except that the bowl was empty and the butterflies needed a new home...

Well, they are gone now. Our house has been sanitized and "decluttered." There is no space for a bowl full of butterflies when you are trying to sell your home.

Gone also are the bookcases my dad and I built; they reside in another home, a good one, just not my home. They were solid and heavy, too heavy to move across the country. In seminary, I took a permanent marker and wrote the Greek and Hebrew alphabets down the sides of the bookcases, the vowels wandering aimlessly across the shelves. It took me forever to sand them off when it we moved into our home.

Our extra bedroom, the one that sat full of junk for about six months, now looks like a bedroom for the first time in two years. This place where boxes went to procreate and flourish is now home to a bed, a nightstand, a trunk, and a pair of lamps. You can even see the floor in all of our rooms, and actually walk through them without tripping over a box of pictures or papers.

The attic has been organized and filled with all of the things that no longer fit in with our look. Every time I walk up there I wonder if I will come crashing through the ceiling due to the weight of all of our stuff. Actually, just being able to clear a path from one end to the other was no small feat. The best part of the attic is the empty liquor boxes that will soon hold my theology books. As soon as you crest the top of the stairs there is a bookshelf full of them --Jack Daniels, Bacardi, Grey Goose Vodka-- all waiting to hold their precious cargo of Tillich, Niebuhr, and Borg.

It feels like we have sucked in our bellies in order to button our pants. Our open house is next week, and we must hold our breath a little longer or the button might pop off and picture frames will come tumbling down upon the heads of unsuspecting guests. I can't wait until it is over so that I can exhale and bring down all of the things that remind me of the life that is part of our home. I miss the baker's rack that stood guard in our kitchen; I miss the stack of magazines that we were too stubborn to get rid of; I miss the clutter, the things that made our house a home.

I know that it is just a thing, just a sub-divided box of wood and nails. But it is our thing, our first big thing together, and that makes it special. I am forward thinking enough to know that there will be other homes, other things bigger and more important than homes. I am also presently grounded enough to know that I will miss our house. I will miss the Japanese Maples, the random flowering plants that have lived there longer than we have, the wooded backyard.

What I will miss is larger than our home, but I hope that what we gain will be worth it in the end. As I said to my therapist a couple weeks ago, "why do all of the meaningful things and lessons have to be so damn hard!" Her reply escapes me, but I know my statement is true. Good things, meaningful things, deep things are rarely easy.

This is why I don't like "Disneyland Christianity," why I can't stand televangelists, why I get riled up when Christians speak in haughty tones and then back them up with a self-absorbed way of living. If I am honest, being a Christian sucks. It means I no longer have the option of opting out of life; it means that I can no longer sit by and watch people drone on about faith and then return to their million dollar homes while the neighbors across town root through the garbage for dinner; it means that I can no longer sit in the back and ignore our destruction of the world and each other; it means that I have to listen for and listen to God, even when she calls me to leave a place where I am comfortable.

I hope that the next place we live will have a good enough spot for a bowl full of butterflies. I hope that it will be a good place to nurse the wounds of leaving our first home. I hope that there will be new places to hide the clutter and stack the magazines. Mostly, I hope that it can be a meaningful place where we can struggle with the hard things together and still feel safe with one another...

grace and peace



Visit InfoServe for blogger templates