About a year ago I was handed the keys to this brand new apartment in the south parts of Miami. I remember the way I felt, rushing to pick them up on my lunch break, excited beyond measure for my new home. You see, it was a pretty special endeavor, finding this place. I got to hand pick the apartment I wanted and I was the first resident to live in these walls.
I remember going on the “inspection tour” with the lady from the leasing office. She opened the door to my new home and my mouth was immediately stuck in the most amazing smile. It. Was. Perfect.
The brown cabinets, just like I always wanted. The large bathroom…just for me! Enough space to fit ALL of my stuff (and boy I had a LOT!). Lights that tracked along the ceiling and the most beautiful blinds to cover the windows. It was just like I always imagined. It really was my version of a “dream home.”
It wasn’t until I was settled into my new home and going about my daily life that I stumbled upon the most serene and beautiful gift nature could have given me. Even though I was on the second floor, there was a young tree that grew just tall enough to have it’s bushy branches drape the front of my balcony. It provided a privacy of sorts, which I liked. But more than that were the butterflies.
This tree was flooded with butterflies.
I often got lost in the image of the butterflies just dancing among the leaves. Envious, yet brought to peace, by their carefree ways.
Every day in the afternoon I would turn my living room into a mini gym and perform my workouts. And every afternoon I would stand facing out the huge balcony window. I would stare at those butterflies for balance. I would use them when I needed to declutter my mind. I would become mesmerized by their grace, their beauty, their peace. For the last year, those butterflies got me through a lot of tough workouts. More important, they eased my mind on some pretty tough days.
It’s funny, the thing about natural beauty. It’s all around us. Yet we often miss it in our daily routines. If it wasn’t for the fact that I had to stare out that window everyday to push through those workouts, I might have missed those butterflies. And I thanked God everyday when I’d finish my workout for those butterflies because through their effortless beauty, I found peace in some difficult times.
This afternoon a strong winded storm came to pass over my home. When the rain had finally finished, I decided to run downstairs to check on the mail. I took one step out of my door and saw the top of a tree laying flat by the bottom of the staircase. I rushed back into my apartment and onto my balcony and with the only breath I had in the moment I whispered “My butterfly tree!” and then I stared.
The winds had knocked the tree down. And with that one swoop…my beautiful butterflies were gone. Their playground no longer at the edge of my balcony.
And just like that…it was gone.
I thought for a moment about being sad. The old me would have been angry that this had happened. But, I’ve been working on seeing gifts in the most unusual places. After a moment of peaceful silence, I heard the message that God was so desperately trying to tell me.
He was saying, “It’s okay, Brittany. You can go.”
As easy as it might seem to watch me pack up my life and head to the other side of America…it’s actually really, quite hard. It’s hard on me emotionally. I’ve spent a lot of time in this city. I’ve met a lot of people and had some incredible opportunities. And I’ve done pretty okay for myself here.
But just like those butterflies, it’s time for me to find joy in other places. To give it to those who need it. And to soak it in like no one is watching. Man, what a beautiful message I was given today!