Postponing Joy


This morning as I was watering my butterfly weed and washing away the aphids in an attempt to eradicate them, I was thinking about change, about evolving and transforming. And yes, about postponing joy.

Let’s see if I can adequately explain that. It starts with a butterfly landing on the weed, to lay her egg so that a caterpillar can hatch. Most often it’s a Monarch, because the milkweed makes them taste bitter to their prey.

The other day it was actually this fast-fluttering swallowtail!

I even had this odd creature land in the backyard recently.

Anyway, then, if the wasps or the lizards don’t find them first, those itty bitty eggs hatch into these teeny, tiny and voracious little worms who chew the plants down to nothing as to satisfy their hunger.

They are SO incredible to watch.

And their life-cycle process is miraculous.

When they’re satiated, they find a safe place to cocoon.

This little guy chose the nandina plant nearby.

He’ll stay cozily tucked in there for about ten days,

until his shell starts to become translucent.

This part is my favorite; isn’t that just incredible?

When they slide out, they’re all wrinkled,

so they hang out to dry for several hours.

Until they’re ready for those first steps toward freedom.

See those two black spots on his midsection? It’s a boy!

I’m told that they find their way back to our yard to make

and lay more eggs to start the process all over again.

So what, you might be asking, does this have to do with postponing joy?

Well, sometimes we get to eager or anxious for the next thing on our life’s journey to happen, like we’ll be so glad when our kids start crawling or we just can’t wait for them to walk, or won’t high school be SO much better than junior high or it’ll be so amazing when they’re college graduates and adulting well, that we end up postponing the joy of the moment instead of breathing in the beauty of the process. And those aphids? Do not let them steal your joy. Maybe it’s anger, resentment, guilt. Maybe it’s an unresolved conflict between a family member or a friend. Whatever the case, it’s so important to work it through and let it go. Nothing is worth holding on to that’s going to keep you from feeling joy.

Because if I’ve learned anything this past year, not only from

watching my butterflies cycle through but also from 

walking that painful path with my new friend Grief

it’s that all we really have it today,

right here and right now,

in this precious moment.

And I’m grateful for the time

to just watch this magic unfold

right before my eyes.

Today’s resource in case you want to learn more about these magnificent creatures that bring me so much joy is called The Secret Life Of Butterflies by Roger Vila and Rena Ortega.

Due out next week, this comprehensive manual includes not only detailed illustrations but also facts about these mystical winged friends and their migratory habits; did you know that some of them can fly at a speed of up to 40 miles per hour. Wait, what? You’ll learn more about the four cycles of the butterfly than I shared above as well as about differences between butterflies and moths and about their ability to camouflage to keep predators at bay. Check out this incredible non-fiction newcomer for all the answers to your questions about those beautiful butterflies. 

Just last month, I read an article out of Switzerland about the migratory Monarch becoming an endangered species, another reason why postponing joy isn’t a very promising practice. Makes sense, too, because our butterfly weed is taller than it has ever been, which means the butterflies have missed us in TX this season.

So my friends, carpe diem; seize the day. Look for opportunities to connect and serve. Do your part to conserve our resources and protect Mother Nature. Don’t put off until tomorrow what you’re thinking about doing today. Life’s too short and it’s fragile, for sure. Stay grateful and do not postpone joy for a single second.

Savor what’s left of summertime 2022;

enJOY August as it emerges, dear reader. 



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