I am not talking about those wonderfully colourful flighty creatures that float on the air, having started out as an unattractive ground-bound cousin of the worm and almost inconceivably hatched from a cocoon coffin. Not this time, though that sounds like a wonderful topic for a future blog.
I am talking about those moments just before something ‘big’ happens when your stomach lurches and becomes weightless for just a second and whatever you are doing at the time suddenly becomes insignificant in light of the coming event. For me as a child, Christmas Eve was always a night filled with butterflies surging like waves through my midsection as I lay in my bed and listened to the endless ticking of the grandfather clock marking off the long minutes of a seemingly endless and sleepless night.
These days, my sleep is seldom interrupted by anything but persistent cats demanding food or a Diet Dr. Pepper that perhaps should not have been consumed at 11:30 pm. The excitement and anticipation I experienced as a child seems to have been closely linked to my struggles with fear and worry and therefore, as I have dealt with these two issues in my life, anxiety has been pretty much erased from my life. But so has a lot of excitement, it seems. And I miss that.
I am leaving on a vacation to the Dominican Republic tomorrow with my husband. It will be my first time ever to the Caribbean and the first time ever to a nice all-inclusive resort. And I want to be more excited – not freaking-out screaming, hyperventilating, can’t sleep all night, totally useless for any other tasks, kind of excited…but I want to feel the butterflies. I know I will feel them when I catch the first glimpse of the islands, for then it will all be real and happening, but something has changed since I was 7 that keeps me pretty much in the moment and not thinking weeks and months ahead. And I think this is basically good. I am learning to walk every day by faith, trusting that God is going to take care of tomorrow and all my worrying and obsessing won’t do a thing to make it better or worse. Don’t get me wrong, I can get very excited in the moment, just ask my friends, but there is nothing like a long-anticipated wish coming true. Something about waiting and longing makes the desired outcome that much sweeter.
Perhaps I have ceased to let my heart long for things, and have decided that I will just be content with what comes my way. Yep, I think that’s it. And that’s not a bad way to spend your life, never expecting much, not being disappointed much, being pretty easy going, but then…you miss out on the wonder, the excitement, because the greater you can be excited by something, look forward to something, the greater you can also be disappointed by it going wrong. I know God has made me to be a person of passion. I look at David in the Bible, a man after God’s own heart, and he was a man who really really really REALLY wanted some stuff and though that got him in trouble a few times, for the most part, it kept him chasing after God relentlessly to see those longings come to pass.
Relentless…I like that word. I want to be relentless. Not indifferent, not unflappable, at least not about the things that are important to me. I do want to be unaffected by the little stuff that doesn’t really matter in the long run, but I want to be relentless in pursuing the things that really mean a lot to me, even if I hit some disappointments along the way, or run into some walls as I hurl myself headlong towards them. A few bruises and setbacks are to be expected, but they should hardly deter me. It is called discipline…setting a goal and not letting anything distract you from it. Crying out to God to hear you day after day after day after day and not letting the waiting dull your soul.
I need butterflies.