‘The butterfly counts not months but moments, and has time enough.
— Rabindranath Tagore, Indian writer (1861-1941)
I’ve been thinking about butterflies lately. My neighbor has created a butterfly garden in a clearing in the woods between our houses. For her birthday, I created a sculpture based on a concept that I’ve continued to refine. I completed one version (pictured above) for a Richmond area benefit auction for We Heart Harlie and Friends. This charity does the noble work of helping with expenses for the care of 10-year-old Harlie and several other children, each with serious medical issues. Read their stories at weheartharlieandfriends.org. They remind me that butterflies aren’t the only fragile ones in God’s creation.
The quote above, from Indian writer Rabindranath Tagore, is insightful. Butterflies truly do live in the moment, don’t they? And yet they are among the most beautiful and elegant of God’s creatures. Ecclesiastes 3:11 declares that God “has made everything beautiful in its time.” From an easy-to-overlook chrysalis to the impossible-to-miss flitting butterfly, the Creator has His own designs and timetables for His world.
And as I’ve developed this piece over these past winter and early spring weeks, this truth has begun to dawn on me: As short-lived as the butterfly’s life may be, it does, indeed, have “time enough.” It has time enough to simply be what God created it to be—a beautiful butterfly. That’s all it has to do—and be—and there is enough time for that.
I’m old enough now to realize that I’ll not live long enough to read all the books I want to read. Or create all the art for which I have ideas. Or spend the time I want to spend with the people I love. But that’s my agenda. God has made me for a purpose—to glorify Him, enjoy a deep relationship with Him and serve Him by serving others. And if I’m attending to those things, like the butterfly, I’ll have time enough.
Jesus had just 33 short years on earth and only three years of actual formal recorded ministry, yet He didn’t spend time regretting yesterday or worrying about tomorrow. He lived in the moments and had time enough—to love, to worship, to teach, to be a friend. And time enough to bring healing.
My life, and yours, may last for many more years or may soon come to an end. But there’s time enough—in God’s time—to be a friend and to help in the healing of children like Harlie.