Saturday, October 15, 2011

Killing Butterflies (and Suffocating the One You Love)

To my lovely dear daughter, Sheena....

I'd like to talk to you all about why people take things of beauty and destroy them by putting them in cages.

When I was a 7 or 8 year old boy, a second-grader, and living in the country in Minnesota, my school class gave us the assignment to capture butterflies and bring them to school for some sort of Science class experiment. 

One of the neighborhood girls, and a classmate of mine, Paula Nelson, and I went out to capture butterflies together. Paula was a nice girl but I didn't have a crush on her like I did with some of the other girls in class.

While chasing butterflies together, we spied a large yellow beauty fluttering about the roof of my house. The butterfly lit upon the rain drainage pipes. I gathered a ladder and started to climb up in order to capture the butterfly with my net.

As I climbed, Paula started chanting, "Mike! You can do it! You can do it!" I began to swell with pride and because of this cheering began to to develop a real liking for Paula... 

Everyone wants to feel important and Paula did that for me at the time. I will never forget how I felt at that moment. Someone was truly cheering for me! I was so happy! Even though I was but a small boy, I will never forget Paula for making me feel so good about myself. I have thought about her many times over the years. I hope she found a true soul-mate and is truly happy! Thank you Paula!

In a way, capturing a butterfly and making it "mine" is also a way for children to increase their personal worth and add to their lives "treasures."

But I digress...

I neared the butterfly slowly and took up my net. Paula continued chanting. I swatted my net down upon the beautiful butterfly and... It escaped and fluttered away.

I felt defeated for a moment and felt that I had let Paula down.

A few days later, back at school, I viewed all the captured butterflies the other children brought into the classroom laying dead, side by side, in a row. Some kids had very many of them. I had failed to catch even one. As I viewed the butterflies, it dawned on me that dead butterflies were not beautiful but were actually trash.

All those wings of grace and color and dreams lying there were like a pile of old and dirty crayons: cold, lifeless and used up. Of no use to anyone or anything.  

Simply garbage.

The butterflies flying in the blue skies are actually a miracle of grace and give us, children and adults, dreams... Dreams of flying over the mountains and clouds. Dreams of being who we've always wanted to be! 

The butterflies laying still and lifeless in a cage give us death and dispair. 

For the first time in my life, I was glad that I didn't catch any of those poor butterflies. I wished I had had a time machine and could help all those dead butterflies go back in time where I could have prevented their capture and set them free.

I will never forget that experience.

When my lovely second daughter, Sheena, was a small girl of seven and a second-grader, she and her friends had some nets and were out catching butterflies in the neighborhood near Yokohama. To my great surprise they caught a very many of them and put them in a plastic, see-through clear box that had holes in the top. Even though the box was designed for insects, the holes were so small the butterflies suffocated and died....

The children had so merry a time a capturing these creatures... They were so happy that they brought the butterflies to me for my approval. But I didn't approve. The memories of my time as a child and seeing all those dead butterflies came racing back to me.

I foolishly got angry at the small children.

"These poor butterflies are beautiful and a gift from God when they are flying free. But now that you've captured them, they have died a terrible death in a box. Dead and lifeless they are not beautiful to anyone anymore. They are merely trash to be thrown away. Please, dear children, don't take these beautiful creatures and capture them. They are only beautful if they are flying free."

I learned that lesson as a small child. I was hoping that these small children would learn it too...

I was reminded again of that lesson again last night.

A beautiful girl, with dreams and visions all her own, marries... Then the husband takes her away and puts her in a cage where she suffocates.

In the cage she suffers, cannot breathe, begins to lose herself and is, of course, extremely unhappy.

The husband thinks he loves her and so he captures her and puts her away... He puts her into a cage where she languishes and eventually will become resentful and will whither and die...

Is that what the husband really wants? Does he think that this situation is really what's best for his happiness too?

When you stop to think about it, if he truly loved her, he'd make her happy and set her free. Everyone desperately desires freedom.

Why do so many men never grow out of their childhood phase?

True love between two people will come from a sympathy for each other and putting the other's feelings first... How could putting one in a cage possibly do anything but create a feeling of resentment and start tearing down the dream that was the intention at the start?

When my daughter was a small girl, she refused to come and sit with her grandfather. "Why won't she sit on my lap?" The grandfather complained to me!

I told him, "Because, when she wants to get up and go play, you won't allow her too. You hold her down so she can't leave. Let her come and go freely as she pleases and wishes to do and then, and only then, will she sit willingly on your lap." 

He followed my advice and she willingly began sitting on his lap again.

Men! Do not destroy that what you love! Do not strangle that which you want to grow. Do not destroy, hold, capture and cage!

Women! Life is short! The cage once closed is rarely opened again. If it does crack open, for even a bit, dash and make yourselves free while you can! For the chance to do so disappears as your youth and energy dissipates! Do not allow yourselves to be captured and caged! If you are caged, then set yourselves free! 

Men and women! Be free. You can be free and still share the love! Share the love every moment of everyday even when you are apart! Always understand and feel sympathy for each other. Life is short, we all have much suffering to go through. Let us not be the cause of more suffering for each other.

Life is bad enough without have those who supposedly love us being the source of our misery. Life is bad enough without those, who supposedly love us and want to care for us, putting us in a cage. 

Share. Respect. Set free! In this way, and this way only, can you build the one and only true love.

For Sheena, Julie, Wendy and Asami....

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

This post reminds me of Elmyra Duff, sorta:

"...She does not really mean to mistreat her pets, she simply doesn't understand the negative effects of her behavior. Each time animals manage to get away from Elmyra and she's unable to get them back, she often cries and wails. ...

[Some of her infamous quotes:]

"I'm gonna hug you and kiss you and love you forever (and never use you up)" (while squeezing Furrball to death)

"I love cats I love kitties, squeeze them into itty bittys!"..."

This one is missing, paraphrasing from memory:

"I'm gonna lock you up in a cage and love you forever and ever!"