Courage, Faith, Risk

Delicate Wings


I love watching the fluttering flight of a butterfly. I am mesmerized by their colorful, delicate wings, amazed that they are so resilient. Monarch butterflies, for instance, possess a mind-boggling skill. Without any guidance, they inherently know how, when and where to migrate across continents—and it takes four generations to make the yearlong trek.

The monarch butterfly’s migration begins in the spring, with the first generation making its debut into the world. Born in March and April, these tiny insects pick up where their predecessors left off, traveling farther north on a generational journey that totals 1,200 to 2,500 miles. That’s quite the feat for creatures with wing spans of only 3.5 to 4 inches.

We could learn a lesson from the butterfly. It emerges from a lifeless cocoon, develops beautiful wings, and embarks on amazing migrations. I like the migration story told by Annie Dillard in her book, “Pilgrim at Tinker Creek.” She writes that the monarch butterfly flies across Lake Superior and makes it all the way without a rest. That is a distance of about 500 miles! We don’t understand how those delicate butterflies do that. But thousands make their way across that mighty lake every single year during their migration.

None of them arrive without being wind-battered, snatched at from behind, hind legs torn off by the birds that pecked at them along the way. Our life journeys are just as challenging. Like the butterfly’s wings, we can be delicate. But even though we may be battered and broken along the way, we take risks, we keep flying, we persevere. We move forward. We survive!

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