Every year right around this time millions of white butterflies take to the skies of South Africa for their annual migration to the north east. It’s a magnificent sight. I remember seeing the butterflies each year, often catching myself just staring at the sky, marvelling at the wonder of it all… This year is quite different. After a abundance of rain this summer, their numbers have increased significantly. In the midst of the scary thought of a Corona outbreak, everyone can’t stop talking about the amazing amount of butterflies everywhere. It kind of feels a bit like living in a Disney movie when going for a walk…
The funny thing is, no one really knows exactly where they are heading. Some say Madagascar. Others say Mozambique. These beautifully intricate white creatures emerge from the Karoo and Kalahari, all flying in the same direction… Believe it or not, they take off and fly all the way over Gauteng, Limpopo and Mpumalanga just to die as they arrive at their destination. As I read this in an online blog, my heart sank. How devastating. Brought to new life, earning their wings and trying them out… Fluttering and colouring the skies all the way to their destination, just to die.
I know it feels like I’m heading in a “everything comes to nothing” lamentation direction, but bear with me.
As I read a bit further about our white little winged friends, I came to know that this annual migration makes a huge impact on the ecosystem. These butterflies pollinate and populate as far as they fly… Preparing the ground for new life and the next generation who will be taking to the skies in a year’s time. They also provide birds and other animals with yummy snack. Without this migration the ecosystem will take a rather big knock.
About two weeks ago we did a road trip to Marnitz, a very, very, very small town right at the top of South Africa. Blink and you’ll miss it. Seriously. We captured the wedding day of the most beautiful, special couple (more of this in a month or so… Can’t wait to share their video!)
It felt like the butterflies were showing us the way, as they flew everywhere we went. A wedding day surrounded by lush green fields, covered in little yellow flowers and… You guessed it, butterflies. Everywhere. It was magical.
To be honest, the story of these butterflies resonated with my heart for more than one reason. I feel like so many people had such high hopes and dreams for this year. After a very tough and gruelling 2019, I guess we were all hoping for a breath of fresh air. A chance to spread our wings, and finally get a chance to fly.
I must say, now that January has finally left the building, I feel like my wings have been bruised a bit. Opening your wings and flying looks so easy from way down here… But the truth is that it takes so much more courage and faith to keep flying, even when the wind blows you off course and you struggle to keep going. Even when you don’t know where you’re heading, and you can’t see the significance or purpose in anything you’re doing.
What makes this migration valuable, is not the beauty the butterfly brings, but the way it plants seeds for the future everywhere it goes. Whether it is to pollinate, lay eggs or provide food, every butterfly plays its part to lay itself down in the great circle of life.
Somehow seeing these butterflies just reminded me that it takes courage to open your wings and trust the wind of the Holy Spirit to carry you. You might not know where you’re heading, or know exactly how to get there. You may not see the fruit of the seeds you are planting just yet. But when you turn your eyes to Jesus, and just focus on who He is and what He is doing, instead of focusing on who you are and what you are doing, burdens tend to fall and perspective can pour in and restore your vision.
The story isn’t over. You can and will fly again. The seeds you sow today will build a great harvest for the kingdom. Just surrender to the call and the wind of His presence. He will never leave you. He will instruct you on the path you should go… Just open your wings, and try again.
It’s still going to be a good year.