Hope through the Darkest Night

Red Spotted Purple Butterfly

For many months, I have been walking underwater. This has been the toughest part of life I’ve ever imagined. Moving forward has been painful, and days have passed by in slow-motion. But this is how it is, isn’t it? Life isn’t easy. Sometimes life takes our breath away.

Privacy is important when it comes to details and terms and situations, but glossing over the tough stuff doesn’t help anyone. The truth is no one is immune from the hardest parts of life. We all share a common bond: life is hard.

The big question is how do we hang on through the hardest parts of life?

Monarch butterfly on buddleia

Hope through the Darkest Nights

Years ago, I planted Swamp Milkweed in our backyard. I love butterflies, enough to try a plant with an unbecoming name like Swamp Milkweed. It is one of the only plants where Monarch butterflies lay eggs.

My boys and I watched closely for butterflies the first year, but didn’t have any success. The second year, though, we found black dots, and a week or two later, half-eaten leaves and striped caterpillars munching their way through the plant. They were like Eric Carle’s Very Hungry Caterpillar. They ate and ate and ate.

One day, five caterpillars dropped to three. Birds, we discovered, were plucking them off. The next morning, we found two, and then only one. We decided to bring him inside, fed him leaves in a gigantic jar, and propped a long stick for him to make his chrysalis.

Over the course of the next several weeks, we watched in awe. He first swung his body in wild loops, hanging from his hind legs, as he spun himself into a chrysalis. It hardened and became opaque, but as time went on, the chrysalis became transparent. We could see the colors he was becoming. A change was taking place.

One morning, before the sun came up, the chrysalis split down the center. We stopped eating breakfast, I grabbed my camera, and all three boys and I sat on the kitchen counter and watched the vibrant orange wings emerge.

For the first few minutes, his wings were small and wet, and his body was over-sized. But through a process of wringing out the damp and stretching his wings, he came to resemble a butterfly.

It was one of the most beautiful transformations I’ve seen. But for sure, the process was not easy for him. It was painful, even to watch. But the pain was worth it. Hours later, when he seemed strong and his wings sturdy enough to fly, we took him outside. Ten minutes later, he let go of the twig he’d been clinging to for weeks, and took off into the brilliant blue sky.

Hope Is Essential

When our whole lives have overturned and we are a mess, it is okay. When we reach what we think is the end of the world, we have to hold tight. Before long, we will find a sliver of light along the horizon.

The sun also rises. We can make a new start.

the butterfly

Even after a life of prolonged struggle, God will give us wings, a new horizon, and a fresh start.

That is the most any of us can hope for. After the darkest night, the sun will rise. There is always hope.

Here’s to relying on those new wings and learning how to fly.

Red Spotted Purple Butterfly

Published by Jennifer Lyn Art

About Jennifer Writer Author Photographer Artist Corporate Marketer Happy Wife & Mom World Traveler Grateful.

23 thoughts on “Hope through the Darkest Night

  1. Your eyes see and share so much beauty in this world. May your goodness return to you many times over and your hope be restored.

    1. …you have always had the strength of a Caterpillar and beauty of the butterfly (inside and out). The beauty and wonder of the butterfly is evident in your actions! I am certain you will amaze yourself with the heights you will fly and the strength you will continue to grow!

  2. Hang in there, Jennifer–it will get easier. Do something every day for yourself (something that feeds your soul.) Women have always been able to do hard things–especially when there are children involved. Take care of yourself, take care of your boys, and let friends fill your life with good things.

  3. Beautifully put, Jennifer… This, especially. “…he let go of the twig he’d been clinging to…” I’ve never thought about the fact that the new butterfly truly has to let go of the last hold he has on his old life before he can see what those wings can do…

  4. As you journey through this dark place, just remember that life will always give us things we don’t think we can handle. But,
    God promises to always walk along beside us to lighten our burden and we will emerge stronger than we were at the beginning of the journey.

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