When life gets hard it's easy to miss the people we used to lean on - and miss them the most. Jess and I had a lot of life talks. She knew me through and through. Isn't that what sisters do? No one relates to you or gets you sometimes like a sister does. Afterall, biologically there is no one closer than a sibling.
One of my favorite memories with her was this day shown above. We were out at our dad's just walking outside. That is how I remember her, hair in a bun, her hippie girl jeans and super great earrings, a simple tee. So Jess. She was probably poking fun at something my dad said. This visit she made to Indiana would be the last time I saw her alive. The few photos I have from that time are priceless to me because of that. I regret not taking more, but her visit was cut short and she went back to SC prematurely. Sometimes I wish she would have always stayed with me, that I would have and could have prevented change. My plan was never His... whatever His is and was I have to believe His timing is perfect and just have faith in that.
I have been so busy this past year that I have hardly had time to blog anything personal, and most often when I do - usually it is about me missing Jess. Life is always throwing curve balls. Most often I am too busy to deal with getting hit by them that I just throw them back and resume my activities. Ha. But after several curve balls, it can become too much and I start physically dodging them to avoid getting hurt. I miss my sister more than I ever have. It's been a hurdle for the almost four years she's been gone. But more so when the curveballs keep coming.Never, ever apologize to anyone for grieving a loved one. You can KNOW they are better off in heaven than on this earth with all of its curveballs life throws - but that doesn't mean you don't miss them in your humanity. We are fragile. Loss is breaking. It's OK to miss someone. It's ok to cry. It's ok to selfishly wish for them back. Provided that the grief isn't consuming you entirely year after year, and you are still a productive functioning person, this is normal. And anyone who tells you otherwise doesn't respect the right to grieve. And they don't respect you. God knows we grieve - which is why He says He cries with us. He is near to the brokenhearted. A broken heart often reflects a broken spirit. God is the only one who can deal with that broken spirit. So it is important that - while it's ok to have emotions, we can't lead with them. Grieve, but remember the blessings still abundant and take the next step.
It's not important if someone doesn't get why I love butterflies so much. Even if they know the meaning behind the significance of the story involving my sister... and all that matters is that I know why I love them and my intent as to why - Monarch's specifically - are important to me. It's not that I believe that every time I see one it's my sister. I don't believe in reincarnation personally. I do believe God uses His creation to bring us peace and comfort. I don't consider myself a pantheist either. I don't worship nature, don't worship butterflies. But for me, it's a symbolism of my sister's life. The fact that she's transformed in heaven, a most beautiful - final stage. It's a reminder that beauty is hard sought after and not won through ease. True beauty, the most captivating beauty is earned through sweat, blood and tears. It is the final product after all that has misshaped us has finally cleared aside. When a caterpillar transforms it literally breaks down - its entire body is disassembled and reformed within the chrysalis. The chrysalis protecting it all the while. So even in our hardships and trials, our transformations - we are still being protected... all the while as hard and painful as it is... and it may feel as though we are literally being turned inside out there is still a goal in site, a final stage coming. Such as life... we start out on this journey one person and end up changed in wisdom and beauty by the end of it. But it didn't come free. Transformation is not beautiful all the time, nor is it easy. Painful and tedious more often.
Life is an ever-changing cycle. There are seasons and hardships... but we are being molded for something more beautiful than we could ever imagine. This is why the butterfly is beautiful and a symbolism of perseverance to me to wait and see what a new day will bring within that cycle. More importantly, to always have faith. The butterfly symbolizes faith, during each new transition in life, we must possess it in order to fly. My sister spoke of faith so much before she died. We go through things sometimes where all we have is faith. Ghandi said, "Faith is not something to grasp, it is a state to grow into." So... I have to believe faith is something like a butterfly in that sense. We sometimes get a faint glimpse of it before it is gone again, it's hard to capture with our hands. Life just hands us curveballs that keep transforming us, painful, but finally allowing us to grow into our faith and into who we are to become.
The more that time passes since my sister's death - the more I see that her words of faith and the butterfly she left in her Bible had more meaning than I gave them credit for. When life is hard and I wish I could still just call her up and say, "girl I need someone to talk to..." I have to have faith and just know that when I go through the valley and shadows come from the hills, the sun continues to cycle, life continues to cycle and eventually things transform and change. And in those cycles and seasons I am reminded that there is still a promise of sustenance there and that His hands are my chrysalis. The caterpillar goes into the cocoon it makes knowing there will be change and a complete reconstruction of the life it knew, but the butterfly it becomes knows it will not remain in the chrysalis forever...