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Do you believe in butterflies?

My friend Ana loved butterflies so at her memorial service we released one hundred live butterflies in a dramatic ritual. It was a stunningly beautiful sight to see them fly away, but gradually we realized that one was still there. It lingered on someone’s finger—her husband John’s.

99 butterflies flew away. One didn’t. We can easily acknowledge the actions of 99 butterflies. But how do we explain the action of the 100th butterfly? It’s much easier to ignore or deny its significance, dismissing it as coincidence, chance, or fluke. But how do you explain it to yourself? How would you explain it to a child? Does it require explanation or is it enough to sense the wonder and mystery?

I believe that an attitude of vulnerability as openness is of central importance in life. We are challenged to grow our ability to tolerate the pain and confusion of not knowing, rather than imposing formulaic and omnipotent certainties upon a complex situation or emotional challenge. If we can let go of the need to know why one butterfly stayed--accept uncertainties, mysteries and doubts—we may experience revelations and flashes of enlightenment.

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