We stopped at Lowe’s to get some flower pots. “Look, a butterfly!” It was fluttering on the ground in the middle of the parking lot. “It has a broken wing.” We lingered for a moment. I could feel the we need to do something feeling rise up in my chest. My mom felt it too, compassion.
We started to walk away. I could feel its fluttering wings behind me. I could feel it dying. I was over-whelmed with concern. I went back and picked up the butterfly with the broken wing.
I had been feeling this terrible negative energy in my body for days now. So similar to death that feeling is. This butterfly seemed to understand. I carried it to the garden section. I looked for the best flowers I could find and set it down. “If you don’t survive, I think you would rather be here.”
“And he won’t be run over in the parking lot,” my mom added.
After staring for a good two minutes, I walked away.
I went back fifteen minutes later.
The butterfly had fallen out of the pot. It couldn’t fly. I felt so sad. I picked it back up. I walked with it for a while. I didn’t want to let it go. It crawled up my shirt towards my hair. “Hey it looks like a bush not a bush!” I said out loud as I gently pulled the butterfly away from my hair. Amusement on my face.
I set the butterfly with the broken wing back on the flower. “Goodbye,” I whispered.
As I headed back towards the car, my mind raced. I was eight again sitting with the boy who used to pull the granddaddy long legs’ legs apart.
The boy laughed as I cried. His violence gave him a control that he never knew in his ordinary life. Here, he was the one in charge. He gave the very cruelty he was bound too.
Learned helplessness is a place of torment. It is the place where there is never any light. There is never any up to climb. The stream that doesn’t move except to tear you under like a rip current in the ocean on a warm summer day.
Learn to let go of what cannot be controlled. This is the place of surrender. We all hear it but to step in it, to walk in it; this is the place where life meets vibrance.
I could not save the butterfly. I could not save the granddaddy long leg. I could not save the boy.
I can something though and it is that something that I begin to search for again. The can. I can.