As she ran errands with her children one spring day, Kaylyn Dunne was thinking about the weekend retreat she had just attended. The theme—butterflies and new life—aroused her desire for a deeper spiritual life. Yet, it worried her, too, because she had been asked to be chairperson of the next retreat. Kaylyn had never been chairperson of anything, and she felt quite inadequate. With her already crowded schedule and a chronically ill son to care for, was God really calling her to do this? She needed a sign…
“Mom, look!” her son suddenly exclaimed from the back seat. Fluttering in front of her, inside the car, was a huge monarch butterfly. It was a vivid yellow, her favorite color. With the windows open barely a crack, how had it gotten inside the car?
“It must be frightened,” Kaylyn told them. “Open the windows, and let it fly out.” They did, but despite the breeze, the butterfly stayed.
Kaylyn pulled into the library parking lot. “Let’s leave the windows down while we’re gone,” she suggested. But when they returned, the monarch was still sitting on the dashboard, as if awaiting them.
Bemused, Kaylyn drove home, opened the car doors, went into the house and waited. Eventually, the butterfly leisurely emerged, circled the house in a kind of embrace, and flew off.
“I got to thinking of the timeliness of its arrival, right after I had prayed,” Kaylyn said. Did God intend it as a sign that He was near? …that He had plans for her to shed her cocoon and spread her wings? Kaylyn accepted the chairperson job, and it became her path to a richer spiritual life.
Since that day, butterflies seem to visit Kaylyn often, especially when she needs encouragement. One day, when a friend held a prayer service in her living room for Kaylyn’s son. Several friends prayed earnestly. Then one of the group pointed to the front window and exclaimed, “Look outside!” Tapping gently against the glass was a large yellow butterfly. Just a coincidence? Perhaps. But it came in the middle of a snowstorm!
Flowers, rainbows, butterflies…perhaps, God uses them to bridge the barriers between heaven and earth.
Joan’s new book Where Angels Walk
is the 25th Anniversary Edition, available now at Loyola Press.
Joan Wester Anderson has written many books on angels and miracles.
She can be reached at P.O. Box 127, Prospect Heights, IL 60070.